Responsiveness to sucrose affects tactile and olfactory learning in preforaging honey bees of two genetic strains

Ricarda Scheiner, Robert E. Page, Joachim Erber

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137 Scopus citations


Using sucrose solution as reward, we conditioned preforaging honey bees of two genetic strains to tactile stimuli or to odours. Acquisition, extinction of conditioned responses and discrimination between the conditioned stimuli and alternative tactile or olfactory stimuli were measured. Bees of the two genetic strains were selected for their foraging behaviour. In addition, they differ in their responsiveness to sucrose. To analyse the effects of sucrose perception on learning parameters independent of foraging behaviour, we conditioned preforaging bees of the two strains and compared their performance in tactile and olfactory learning paradigms. In both strains, acquisition in tactile and olfactory conditioning is determined by responsiveness to sucrose. There is no genetic effect on the relationship between responsiveness to sucrose and acquisition. Bees responding to low sucrose concentrations perform better than ones that only respond to higher concentrations. Extinction of conditioned responses correlates with acquisition. Responses to alternative stimuli are independent of responsiveness to sucrose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 8 2001


  • Associative learning
  • CS+, conditioned stimulus
  • CS-, alternative stimulus
  • Genetic strains
  • Honey bee
  • PER, proboscis extension response
  • Sucrose responsiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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