Visuo-motor biases in buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris)

Frasnelli, Elisa and Waite, Lydia (2021) Visuo-motor biases in buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris). Laterality, 26 (1-2). pp. 55-70. ISSN 1357-650X

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Visuo-motor biases in buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris)
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Bees provide a good model to investigate the evolution of lateralization. So far, most studies focused on olfactory learning and memories in tethered bees. This study investigated possible behavioural biases in free-flying buff-tailed
bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) by analysing their turning decisions in a T-maze. Bees of various size were trained to associate a syrup reward with a blue target placed at the centre of the T-maze. The bees were then tested over 16 trials by presenting them with blue targets at the end of the maze’s arms. The maze was rotated 180° after the first 8 trials to control for environmental factors. The number of turnings to the left and right arms were analysed. The bees sampled exhibited a population-level rightward turning bias. As bumblebees vary significantly in size with large bees being better
learners than smaller ones, we measured the thorax width to identify a possible relationship between size and bias. No significant correlation was identified. This study shows that bees present lateralization in a visuo-motor task that mimics their foraging behaviour, indicating a possible specialization of the right side of the nervous system in routine tasks.

Keywords:Behavioural bias, side-turning, T-maze, bee, lateralization
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
C Biological Sciences > C340 Entomology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:42564
Deposited On:30 Nov 2020 17:13

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