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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/920780
- Floral scents induce recall of navigational and visual memories in honeybees
Srinivasan, Mandyam V.;
Zhang, Shaowu W.
- During foraging flights, honeybees learn visual and chemical cues associated with a food source. We investigated whether learned olfactory cues can trigger visual and navigational memories in honeybees that assist them in navigating back to a known food source. In a series of experiments, marked bees were trained to forage at one or more sugar water feeders, placed at different outdoor locations and carrying different scents or colours. We then tested the ability of these bees to recall the locations (or colours) of these food sites and to fly to them, when the training scents were blown into the hive, and the scents and food at the feeders were removed. The results show that (1) bees, trained to a single-scented feeder at a given location, can be induced to fly to the same location by blowing the scent into the hive; (2) bees, trained to two feeders, each placed at a different location and carrying a different scent, can be induced to fly to either location by blowing the appropriate scent into the hive; and (3) bees, trained to two feeders, each decorated with a different colour and carrying a different scent, can be induced to find a feeder of either colour by blowing the appropriate scent into the hive. Thus, familiar scents can trigger navigational and visual memories in experienced bees. Our findings suggest that the odour and taste of the nectar samples that are distributed by successful foragers on returning to the hive, may trigger recall of navigational memories associated with the food site in experienced recruits and, thus, facilitate their navigation back to the site.
- The Journal of Experimental Biology Vol. 207, p. 4371-4381
- Publisher Link
- Company of Biologists
- Resource Type
- journal article