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Odour-evoked responses to queen pheromone components and to plant odours using optical imaging in the antennal lobe of the honey bee drone Apis mellifera L



Odour-evoked responses to queen pheromone components and to plant odours using optical imaging in the antennal lobe of the honey bee drone Apis mellifera L



Journal of Experimental Biology 209(Pt 18): 3587-3598



The primordial functional role of honey bee males (drones) is to mate with virgin queens, a behaviour relying heavily on the olfactory detection of queen pheromone. In the present work I studied olfactory processing in the drone antennal lobe (AL), the primary olfactory centre of the insect brain. In drones, the AL consists of about 103 ordinary glomeruli and four enlarged glomeruli, the macroglomeruli (MG). Two macroglomeruli (MG1 and MG2) and approximately 20 ordinary glomeruli occupy the anterior surface of the antennal lobe and are thus accessible to optical recordings. Calcium imaging was used to measure odour-evoked responses to queen pheromonal components and plant odours. MG2 responded specifically to the main component of the queen mandibular pheromone, 9-ODA. The secondary components HOB and HVA each triggered activity in one, but not the same, ordinary glomerulus. MG1 did not respond to any of the tested stimuli. Plant odours induced signals only in ordinary glomeruli in a combinatorial manner, as in workers. This study thus shows that the major queen pheromonal component is processed in the most voluminous macroglomerulus of the drone antennal lobe, and that plant odours, as well as some queen pheromonal components, are processed in ordinary glomeruli.

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Accession: 012372521

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 16943499

DOI: 10.1242/jeb.02423


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