Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 159, Issue 2, pp 251–256 | Cite as

Conditioning honeybees to discriminate between heritable odors from full and half sisters

  • Wayne M. Getz
  • Dorothea Brückner
  • Katherine B. Smith


Differential conditioning of the proboscis extension reflex in honeybees is used to assess whether worker honeybees can be trained to discriminate between volatile odors emanating from different kin groups consisting of 2 or 20 workers. These odor source group workers are all reared and maintained under identical environmental conditions. They are the progeny of a queen that has been instrumentally inseminated so that eclosing adult workers can be sorted into colormorph full sister patrilines (workers are half sisters across patrilines). We demonstrate that workers are able to discriminate between the odors from groups of 20 individuals only if the groups represent individuals from different patrilines. However, discrimination occurs between groups of 2 individuals even if groups do not represent different patrilines. A number of environmental control experiments are also conducted. From our results we infer that there is heritable variation in the production of volatile odors by worker honeybees at a level that can be detected by the workers.


Group Worker Control Experiment Environmental Control Odor Source Heritable Variation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wayne M. Getz
    • 1
  • Dorothea Brückner
    • 2
  • Katherine B. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Biological ControlUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of BremenBremen 33Germany

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