Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 187, Issue 11, pp 891–899

Satiation differentially affects performance in a learning assay by nurse and forager honey bees

  • Yehuda Ben-Shahar
  • Gene E. Robinson
Original Paper


When not satiated prior to training, there were no differences between foragers and nurse honey bees in the acquisition of an appetitively based conditioned response in an olfactory associative learning assay, but when satiated foragers showed faster acquisition than did nurses. Satiation-related differences between foragers and nurses were more a function of behavioral state than age, because satiated precocious foragers also showed faster acquisition rates than did satiated nurse bees, despite their similar ages. Tests of sucrose responsiveness and retention of conditioned responses indicate that the observed performance differences between nurses and foragers were more likely due to differential sensitivity of sensory and motor processes related to satiation rather than differences in cognitive ability.

Apis mellifera Associative learning Division of labor Proboscis extension reflex Hymenoptera 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yehuda Ben-Shahar
    • 2
  • Gene E. Robinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Neuroscience Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL 61801,USA
  2. 2.Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL 61801,USA

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