Nestmate recognition template of guard honey bees is changed by wax comb transfer

Couvillon, Margeret J, Caple, Jamie P, Endsor, Samuel L, Kärcher, Martin, Russell, Trudy E, Storey, Darren E and Ratnieks, Francis L W (2007) Nestmate recognition template of guard honey bees is changed by wax comb transfer. Biology Letters, 3 (3). pp. 228-230. ISSN 1744-9561

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In recognition, discriminators use sensory information to make decisions. For example, honeybee (Apis mellifera) entrance guards discriminate between nest-mates and intruders by comparing their odours with a template of the colony odour. Comb wax plays a major role in honeybee recognition. We measured the rejection rates of nest-mate and non-nest-mate worker bees by entrance guards before and after a unidirectional transfer of wax comb from a `comb donor¿ hive to a `comb receiver¿ hive. Our results showed a significant effect that occurred in one direction. Guards in the comb receiver hive became more accepting of non-nest-mates from the comb donor hive (rejection decreased from 70 to 47%); however, guards in the comb donor hive did not become more accepting of bees from the comb receiver hive. These data strongly support the hypothesis that the transfer of wax comb increases the acceptance of non-nest-mates not by changing the odour of the bees, but by changing the template used by guards.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: Francis Ratnieks
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:50
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2012 10:02
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