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Estimation of heritability of learning behavior in honeybees (Apis mellifera capensis)

Abstract

The learning behavior of Cape honeybees (Apis mellifera capensis) is examined using conditioning of the proboscis extension reflex. The bees are tested cumulatively with several learning tests. The genetic influence on differences in the learning scores is calculated by means of heritability (h 2) estimations obtained by different methods. Theh 2 values of the sum of the trials derived by each method range between 0.39 and 0.54. This shows that the proboscis extension reflex paradigm is suitable for the characterization and selection of genetic differences in learning behavior. Heritabilities in the narrow sense and in the broad sense are in the same range. The small differences obtained are discussed with respect to the type of selection existing in natural populations.

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This study was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Br 827/1-2).

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Brandes, C. Estimation of heritability of learning behavior in honeybees (Apis mellifera capensis). Behav Genet 18, 119–132 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01067081

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01067081

Key Words

  • Apis mellifera
  • honeybees
  • learning
  • genetics
  • heritability