Visual classical conditioning in wood ants

D Fernandes, A Sofia, Buckley, C L and Niven, J E (2018) Visual classical conditioning in wood ants. Journal of Visualized Experiments (140). ISSN 1940-087X

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Abstract

Several species of insects have become model systems for studying learning and memory formation. Although many studies focus on freely moving animals, studies implementing classical conditioning paradigms with harnessed insects have been important for investigating the exact cues that individuals learn and the neural mechanisms underlying learning and memory formation. Here we present a protocol for evoking visual associative learning in wood ants through classical conditioning. In this paradigm, ants are harnessed and presented with a visual cue (a blue cardboard), the conditional stimulus (CS), paired with an appetitive sugar reward, the unconditional stimulus (US). Ants perform a Maxilla-Labium Extension Reflex (MaLER), the unconditional response (UR), which can be used as a readout for learning. Training consists of 10 trials, separated by a 5-minute intertrial interval (ITI). Ants are also tested for memory retention 10 minutes or 1 hour after training. This protocol has the potential to allow researchers to analyze, in a precise and controlled manner, the details of visual memory formation and the neural basis of learning and memory formation in wood ants.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Animals, Ants, Conditioning, Classical, Cues, Memory, Models, Biological, Reflex, Reward, Time Factors, Visual Perception
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2020 10:41
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2020 08:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/92055

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