September 14 2010

12:00 BSRB 154

Ecolunch: Adam Siegel
Arizona State University

The link between the ovary, sucrose sensitivity, and foraging specialization in the honey bee, Apis mellifera.


There is increasing evidence that for workers of the honey bee, Apis mellifera, ovarian status influences behavioral phenotype. Our work demonstrates the size of the ovaries has modulatory effects on foraging behavior. We have previously shown that European honey bee workers selectively bred to store larger amounts of pollen (High strain) also have a higher number of ovarioles per ovary than workers from strains bred to store less pollen (low strain). To determine if this relationship was fully reciprocal, i.e. variation in ovariole number affects foraging behavior, we investigated foraging behavior of African-European hybrid strains selectively bred for variation in ovariole number. Our results demonstrated similar relationships, supporting the tight interlinkage between reproductive development and behavioral phenotype. Links have been demonstrated between the ovary and sucrose sensitivity, the ovary and foraging bias, and sucrose sensitivity and foraging bias. These links suggest a mechanism where the ovary influences foraging by modulation of sucrose perception. We used a flow-rate controlled artificial sucrose delivery system and a proboscis extension response assay to investigate the relationship between the ovary, sucrose sensitivity and carbohydrate collection under highly controlled conditions and in the absence of pollen (protein source). We found an interaction effect between ovary size and sucrose sensitivity on collected sucrose solution volume. This result supports a proposed mechanism where the ovary impacts carbohydrate collection through a modulation of sucrose sensitivity. This in turn may impact protein collection.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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