Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 193, Issue 2, pp 167–180 | Cite as

Manipulating the light/dark cycle: effects on dopamine levels in optic lobes of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) brain

  • Elizabeth Carrington
  • Ilona C. Kokay
  • Jane Duthie
  • Robert Lewis
  • Alison R. Mercer
Original Paper

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between cyclical variations in optic-lobe dopamine levels and the circadian behavioural rhythmicity exhibited by forager bees. Our results show that changing the light–dark regimen to which bees are exposed has a significant impact not only on forager behaviour, but also on the levels of dopamine that can be detected in the optic lobes of the brain. Consistent with earlier reports, we show that foraging behaviour exhibits properties characteristic of a circadian rhythm. Foraging activity is entrained by daily light cycles to periods close to 24 h, it changes predictably in response to phase shifts in light, and it is able to free-run under constant conditions. Dopamine levels in the optic lobes also undergo cyclical variations, and fluctuations in endogenous dopamine levels are influenced significantly by alterations to the light/dark cycle. However, the time course of these changes is markedly different from changes observed at a behavioural level. No direct correlation could be identified between levels of dopamine in the optic lobes and circadian rhythmic activity of the honey bee.

Keywords

Circadian rhythms Insect visual system Biogenic amines 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Carrington
    • 1
  • Ilona C. Kokay
    • 2
  • Jane Duthie
    • 1
  • Robert Lewis
    • 3
  • Alison R. Mercer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy and Structural BiologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  3. 3.Biological SciencesUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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