Supplementary material from "Octopamine and dopamine mediate waggle dance following and information use in honeybees"

Posted on 29.09.2020 - 07:45
Honeybees can be directed to profitable food sources by following waggle dances performed by other bees. Followers can often choose between using this social information or relying on memories about food sources they have visited in the past, so-called private information. While the circumstances that favour the use of either social or private information have received considerable attention, still little is known about the neurophysiological basis of information use. We hypothesized that octopamine and dopamine, two biogenic amines with important functions in reward signalling and learning, affect dance use in honeybees. We orally administered octopamine and dopamine when bees collected food at artificial feeders and tested if this affected interest in dance information about a new food source. We predicted that octopamine reduces interest in dances and strengthens private information use via an increase in the perceived value of the previously exploited resource. Since dopamine has been shown to lower reward perception, we expected it to act in the opposite direction. Octopamine-treated foragers indeed followed 32% fewer dances than control bees and increased the use of private information. Conversely, dopamine-treated bees followed dances 15% longer than control bees, but surprisingly did not use social information more. Overall, our results suggest that biogenic amine signalling affects interactions among dancers and dance followers and, thus, information flow about high-quality food sources.


Linn, Melissa; Glaser, Simone M.; Peng, Tianfei; Grüter, Christoph (2020): Supplementary material from "Octopamine and dopamine mediate waggle dance following and information use in honeybees". The Royal Society. Collection.
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