Selective modulation of task performance by octopamine in honey bee (Apis mellifera) division of labour

Andrew B. Barron, Gene E. Robinson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Octopamine treatment has previously been shown to increase honey bee foraging behaviour. We determined the effects of octopamine on other tasks to learn how octopamine affects division of labour in honey bee colonies. Octopamine treatment did not increase the rate of corpse removal from the hive, suggesting that elevated brain levels of octopamine do not act to increase the performance of all flight-related tasks. Octopamine treatment also did not increase attendance in the queen's retinue, suggesting that elevated brain levels of octopamine do not act to increase responsiveness to all olfactory stimuli. Consistent with these findings, octopamine treatment enhanced the foraging response to brood pheromone but not the cell capping response, a component of brood care. These results demonstrate a relatively specific form of neuromodulation by octopamine in the regulation of division of labour in honey bee colonies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-668
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A
Volume191
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Behavioural state
  • Division of labour
  • Honey bee
  • Octopamine
  • Pheromone

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