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Title:Comparing reversal-learning abilities, sucrose responsiveness, and foraging experience in scout and non-scout honey bee (Apis mellifera) foragers
Author(s):Carr-Markell, Morgan
Advisor(s):Robinson, Gene E.
Department / Program:School of Integrative Biology
Discipline:Ecol, Evol, Conservation Biol
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Animal cognition
division of labor
Abstract:Honey bees (Apis mellifera) colonies divide foraging activities between scouts, who search for new sources of food, and non-scouts, who rely on information from waggle dances to find food sources. Molecular analyses of scouts and non-scouts have revealed differences in the expression of numerous genes, including several related to neurotransmitter signaling. Despite this progress, we know almost nothing about cognitive, sensory, or behavioral differences that underlie scouting. I tested three hypotheses related to differences between scouts and non-scouts. First, I hypothesized that scouts and non-scouts differ in their reversal-learning abilities. Scouts showed a significantly faster reversal in their response to an odor that was punished and then rewarded. The results also suggested an interaction between the effects of foraging role (scout or non-scout) and seasonal effects on reversal-learning abilities. Second, I hypothesized that variation in responsiveness to sucrose rewards is associated with scouting behavior. I found no significant difference in responsiveness between scouts and non-scouts. Third, I hypothesized that greater foraging experience increases the probability that a forager will engage in scouting behavior. I tested this by comparing wing damage between scouts and non-scouts and found that non-scouts showed greater wing damage in the early summer but not the late summer. Together, these three results contribute to our understanding of cognitive, sensory, and behavioral aspects associated with scouting behavior.
Issue Date:2014-01-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Morgan Carr-Markell
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-16
Date Deposited:2013-12

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