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Olfactory conditioning of the proboscis extension in bumble bees

Laloi, D., Sandoz, J.C., Picard-Nizou, A.L., Marchesi, A., Pouvreau, A., Tasei, J.N., Poppy, G., Pham-Delegue, M.H.
Entomologia experimentalis et applicata 1999 v.90 no.2 pp. 123-129
proboscis, animal behavior, phenylacetaldehyde, Bombus terrestris, learning, conditioned behavior, odors, linalool
The foraging behaviour of bumble bees is well documented for nectar and/or pollen gathering, but little is known about the learning processes underlying such behaviour. We report olfactory conditioning in worker bumble bees Bombus terrestris L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) obtained under laboratory conditions on restrained individuals. The protocol was adapted from the proboscis extension conditioning previously described in the honey bee Apis mellifera L. Bumble bees were found to be able to learn a pure odorant when it was presented in paired association with a sugar reward, but not when odour and reward were presented in an explicitly unpaired procedure. This suggests an associative basis for this olfactory learning. Bumble bees showed similar conditioning abilities when stimulated with two different floral odours. An effect of the sugar reward concentration on the learning performances was found.