Locomotion and the pollen hoarding behavioral syndrome of the honeybee (Apis mellifera L.)

M. A. Humphries, M. K. Fondrk, Robert Page

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Honeybees selected for the colony level phenotype of storing large quantities of pollen (pollen hoarding) in the nest exhibit greater walking activity than those selected against pollen hoarding. In this study, we use a simple walking assay to demonstrate that walking activity increases with the proportion of high pollen-hoarding alleles in pure and backcrossed strains of bees (high-strain bees > offspring generated from a high backcross > offspring generated from a low backcross > low-strain bees). The trait is heritable but is not associated with markers linked to three quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapped for their effects on pollen hoarding with demonstrated pleiotropic effects on pollen and nectar foraging and learning behavior. However, locomotion in non-selected bees is correlated with responsiveness to sucrose, a trait that correlates with foraging and learning behavior. We propose that pollen-hoarding behavior involves a syndrome of behavioral traits with complex genetic and regulatory architectures that span sensory sensitivity, foraging behavior, and learning. We propose that locomotor activity is the component of this syndrome and reflects the early maturation of the bees that become pollen foragers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-674
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Locomotion
  • Pollen foraging syndrome
  • QTL
  • Sucrose responsiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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