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The effect of genotype, age, sex, and caste on response thresholds to sucrose and foraging behavior of honey bees (Apis mellifera L.)



The effect of genotype, age, sex, and caste on response thresholds to sucrose and foraging behavior of honey bees (Apis mellifera L.)



Journal of Comparative Physiology A, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology 185(2): 207-213



Bees derived from artificially selected high- and low-pollen-hoarding strains were tested for their proboscis extension reflex response to water and varying sucrose concentrations. High-strain bees had a lower response threshold to sucrose than low-strain bees among pre-foragers, foragers, queens and drones. Pre-foraging low-strain workers showed ontogenetic changes in their response threshold to sucrose which was inversely related to age. High-strain foragers were more likely to return with loads of water compared to low-strain foragers. Whereas low-strain foragers were more likely to return with loads of nectar. Low-strain nectar foragers collected nectar with significantly higher sucrose concentrations than did the high-strain nectar foragers. Alternatively, low-strain foragers were more likely to return empty compared to high-strain foragers. These studies demonstrate how a genotypically varied sensory-physiological process, the perception of sucrose, are associated with a division of labor for foraging.

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Accession: 003301770

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PMID: 10488557

DOI: 10.1007/s003590050379


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