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Stingless bees (Scaptotrigona pectoralis) learn foreign trail pheromones and use them to find food.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21052681     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Foragers of several species of stingless bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae and Meliponini) deposit pheromone marks in the vegetation to guide nestmates to new food sources. These pheromones are produced in the labial glands and are nest and species specific. Thus, an important question is how recruited foragers recognize their nestmates' pheromone in the field. We tested whether naïve workers learn a specific trail pheromone composition while being recruited by nestmates inside the hive in the species Scaptotrigona pectoralis. We installed artificial scent trails branching off from trails deposited by recruiting foragers and registered whether newly recruited bees follow these trails. The artificial trails were baited with trail pheromones of workers collected from foreign S. pectoralis colonies. When the same foreign trail pheromone was presented inside the experimental hives while recruitment took place a significant higher number of bees followed the artificial trails than in experiments without intranidal presentation. Our results demonstrate that recruits of S. pectoralis can learn the composition of specific trail pheromone bouquets inside the nest and subsequently follow this pheromone in the field. We, therefore, suggest that trail pheromone recognition in S. pectoralis is based on a flexible learning process rather than being a genetically fixed behaviour.
Authors:
Christian Reichle; Ingrid Aguilar; Manfred Ayasse; Stefan Jarau
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2010-11-04
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology     Volume:  197     ISSN:  1432-1351     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Comp. Physiol. A Neuroethol. Sens. Neural. Behav. Physiol.     Publication Date:  2011 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-02-18     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101141792     Medline TA:  J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  243-9     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Institute for Experimental Ecology, University of Ulm, 89069, Ulm, Germany, christian.reichle@uni-ulm.de.
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