Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 193, Issue 5, pp 523–535 | Cite as

Central gustatory projections and side-specificity of operant antennal muscle conditioning in the honeybee

Original Paper

Abstract

Gustatory stimuli to the antennae, especially sucrose, are important for bees and are employed in learning paradigms as unconditioned stimulus. The present study identified primary antennal gustatory projections in the bee brain and determined the impact of stimulation of the antennal tip on antennal muscle activity and its plasticity. Central projections of antennal taste hairs contained axons of two morphologies projecting into the dorsal lobe, which is also the antennal motor centre. Putative mechanosensory axons arborised in a dorso-lateral area. Putative gustatory axons projected to a ventro-medial area. Bees scan gustatory and mechanical stimuli with their antennae using variable strategies but sensory input to the motor system has not been investigated in detail. Mechanical, gustatory, and electrical stimulation of the ipsilateral antennal tip were found to evoke short-latency responses in an antennal muscle, the fast flagellum flexor. Contralateral gustatory stimulation induced smaller responses with longer latency. The activity of the fast flagellum flexor was conditioned operantly by pairing high muscle activity with ipsilateral antennal sucrose stimulation. A proboscis reward was unnecessary for learning. With contralateral antennal sucrose stimulation, conditioning was unsuccessful. Thus, muscle activity induced by gustatory stimulation was important for learning success and conditioning was side-specific.

Keywords

Operant conditioning Taste hairs Antenna Unconditioned stimulus Motoneuron 

Abbreviations

AL

Antennal lobe

AMMC

Antennal mechanosensory and motor centre

CS

Conditioned stimulus

DL

Dorsal lobe

FFF

Fast flagellum flexor

PER

Proboscis extension response

SEG

Suboesophageal ganglion

US

Unconditioned stimulus

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurobiologie, Institut für ÖkologieBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Molecular Neuroscience Unit, OIST-PC IRP, OITCOkinawaJapan

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