Free access
Volume 36, Number 1, January-March 2005
Page(s) 119 - 126
Published online 16 March 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 119-126
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2004076

Antennal movements as indicators of odor detection by worker honeybees

Michel Lambin, Patrice Déglise and Monique Gauthier

Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition Animale (UMR 5169), 118 route de Narbonne, Bâtiment 4R3, 31062 Toulouse Cedex, France

(Received 18 December 2003 - Revised 14 June 2004 - Accepted 24 June 2004; Published online: 16 March 2005)

Abstract - Detecting olfactory perception in animals is a difficult task requiring indirect investigation at the peripheral level (e.g., using electroantennograms) or at the behavioral level (e.g., using choice behavior assays). We show in restrained honeybees that variations in antennal movements can be used to analyze odor detection. Two methods, based on the analysis of digital recordings during odor stimulations, have been used: manual or automatic (with image processing) data collection of the successive positions of the antennae. The results were similar for the two methods and showed that citral induced an increase in the velocity of the antennal movements. Comparing the olfactory stimulation (citral) to air alone stimulation and to stimulation consisting of air saturated with water or quinine solution, we conclude from these observations that only volatile molecules induce detectable movements of the antennae in the honeybee.

Key words: Apis mellifera / antennal movements / olfaction / video frame analysis / automatic records

Corresponding author: Michel Lambin

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005