, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 227-228
Date: 23 May 2012

Special issue on current concepts in honeybee neurophysiology

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The honeybee has a special place among the model organisms of modern neuroscience. What makes it such an attractive system is the fact that it is a social invertebrate with its whole genome sequenced showing a rich behavior and yet has a rather small brain. Thus, the relation between the activity of single neurons and the behavior it controls is often quite straightforward. Several classical behavioral studies on honeybees dealt with navigation. Consequently, the first paper of this special issue is an original article by Randolf Menzel et al. studying the orientation properties of individual forager bees. Using harmonic radar tracking, Menzel et al. showed that foragers use complex navigation memories utilizing flight vector integration and map-like representations. Such studies open the question of the cognitive abilities of a rather small and limited brain. The honeybee brain measures about 1 mm2 and contains just about one million neurons. However, it controls highly complex social ...