SHORT COMMUNICATION

Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 87, Issue 5, pp 229-231

Fever in honeybee colonies

  • P. T. StarksAffiliated withSection of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853-2702, USA
  • , Caroline A. BlackieAffiliated withSection of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853-2702, USA
  • , Thomas D. SeeleyAffiliated withSection of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853-2702, USA

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

 Honeybees, Apis spp., maintain elevated temperatures inside their nests to accelerate brood development and to facilitate defense against predators. We present an additional defensive function of elevating nest temperature: honeybees generate a brood-comb fever in response to colonial infection by the heat-sensitive pathogen Ascosphaera apis. This response occurs before larvae are killed, suggesting that either honeybee workers detect the infection before symptoms are visible, or that larvae communicate the ingestion of the pathogen. This response is a striking example of convergent evolution between this "superorganism" and other fever-producing animals.