Original Paper

Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 191, Issue 12, pp 1121-1129

First online:

The effects of rearing temperature on developmental stability and learning and memory in the honey bee, Apis mellifera

  • Julia C. JonesAffiliated withSchool of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney Email author 
  • , Paul HelliwellAffiliated withResearch School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University
  • , Madeleine BeekmanAffiliated withSchool of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney
  • , Ryszard MaleszkaAffiliated withResearch School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University
  • , Benjamin P. OldroydAffiliated withSchool of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Honey bee workers maintain the brood nest of their colony within a narrow temperature range of 34.5±1.5°C, implying that there are significant fitness costs if brood is reared outside the normal range. However, the effects of abnormal incubation temperatures are subtle and not well documented. Here we show that short-term learning and memory abilities of adult workers are affected by the temperature they experienced during pupal development. In contrast, long-term learning and memory is not significantly affected by rearing temperature. Furthermore, we could detect no effects of incubation temperature on fluctuating asymmetry, as a measure of developmental stability, in workers, queens or drones. We conclude that the most important consequence of abnormal rearing temperatures are subtle neural deficiencies affecting short-term memory rather than physical abnormalities.

Keywords

Temperature Developmental stability Learning and memory Honey bee