Free access
Volume 39, Number 4, July-August 2008
Page(s) 428 - 435
Published online 25 June 2008
Apidologie 39 (2008) 428-435
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2008025

Pavlovian conditioning of the proboscis extension reflex in harnessed foragers using paired vs. unpaired and discrimination learning paradigms: tests for differences among honeybee subspecies in Turkey

Charles I. Abramson1, T. Andrew Mixson1, Ibrahim Çakmak2, Aaron J. Place3 and Harrington Wells4

1  Laboratory of Comparative Psychology and Behavioral Biology, Departments of Psychology and Zoology, Oklahoma State University, 215 N. Murray, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
2  Uludag Universitesi, M. Kemalpasa MYO, M. Kemalpasa, Bursa 16500, Turkey
3  Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Department of Natural Sciences, Alva, Oklahoma 73717, USA
4  University of Tulsa, Department of Biology, Tulsa, OK 74104, USA

Received 5 November 2007 - Revised 15 February 2008 - Accepted 3 March 2008 - Published online 25 June 2008

Abstract - Experiments utilized three honeybee subspecies from very distinct biomes (Apis mellifera caucasica, A.m. carnica, A.m. syriaca). In experiment one a simple association between odor and a sucrose feeding was readily established in all three subspecies. This association decreased when the conditioned stimulus was no longer followed by a feeding. Neither the learning rate nor extinction rate differed among subspecies. Unpaired controls confirmed that the acquisition of the odor-food association is learned. In experiment two, an attempt to uncover subspecies differences was tested through the ability of bees to discriminate between two odors, one of which is paired with a feeding. Rapid learning occurred in all subspecies and no significant subspecies differences were observed. Finally, discrimination learning was used as an added control to test for honeybee response to an olfactory versus mechanical (air) stimulus.

Key words: Proboscis conditioning / discrimination learning / Apis mellifera caucasica / Apis mellifera carnica / Apis mellifera syriaca

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2008