Free access
Volume 36, Number 4, October-December 2005
Page(s) 595 - 600
Published online 19 October 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 595-600
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2005050

Trophallactic chains in honeybees: a quantitative approach of the nectar circulation amongst workers

Joaquín Goyret and Walter M. Farina

Grupo de Estudio de Insectos Sociales, Departamento de Fisiología, Biología Molecular y Celular, IFIBYNE-CONICET, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Pabellón II, Ciudad Universitaria (C1428EHA), Buenos Aires, Argentina

(Received 2 May 2005 - revised 16 May 2005 - accepted 24 May 2005; Published online: 19 October 2005)

Abstract - In honeybees, the rate at which a nectar forager unloads its crop to a receiver is positively correlated with the reward conditions the forager has recently experienced outside the hive. Food-receiver bees often share the nectar they have received with hive mates. A quantitative analysis of two consecutive trophallactic events was done in experimental arenas to determine if the food-transfer behavior of a food-receiver as she distributes nectar to her hive mates is affected by her prior trophallactic experience with a donor forager. We found that the rate at which a receiver unloads nectar to another receiver is positively correlated with the rate at which she received it from a food donor, suggesting that it is possible to propagate, through individual-to-individual interactions, information about quantitative aspects of the liquid food circulating among worker honeybees.

Key words: Apis mellifera / trophallaxis / unloading rate / communication

Corresponding author: Joaquín Goyret

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005