Origins of brain asymmetry: Lateralization of odour memory recall in primitive Australian stingless bees

Frasnelli, Elisa and Vallortigara, Giorgio and Rogers, Lesley J. (2011) Origins of brain asymmetry: Lateralization of odour memory recall in primitive Australian stingless bees. Behavioural Brain Research, 224 (1). pp. 121-127. ISSN 0166-4328

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Abstract

Left–right antennal asymmetry has been reported in honeybees. We studied primitive social bees to
investigate the evolutionary origins of the asymmetry. Three species of Australian native, stingless bees
(Trigona carbonaria, Trigona hockingsi and Austroplebeia australis) were trained to discriminate two odours,
lemon (+)/vanilla (−), using the Proboscis Extension Reflex (PER). Recall of the olfactory memory at 1 h after
training was better when the odour was presented on the right than on the left side of the bee. In contrast,
recall at 5 h after training was better when the odour was presented on the left than on the right side
of the bee. An additional experiment with T. hockingsi bees, fed with sugar 1 h before recall and tested
at 5 h, produced similar results, showing that the shift in lateralized recall was due to the lapse of time
per se and not to changes in motivation to feed. Stingless bees show the same laterality as honeybees,
suggesting that asymmetry evolved prior to the evolutionary divergence of these species.

Keywords:Lateralization, behavioural asymmetry, Australian stingless bees, olfactory memory, evolution
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C340 Entomology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:30124
Deposited On:16 Mar 2018 13:53

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