Previous findings showed that high levels of octopamine and serotonin in the antennal lobes of adult worker honey bees are associated with foraging behavior, and octopamine treatment induces precocious foraging. To better characterize the relationship between amines and foraging behavior in honey bees, we performed a detailed correlative analysis of amine levels in the antennal lobes as a function of various aspects of foraging behavior. Flight activity was measured under controlled conditions in a large outdoor flight cage. Levels of octopamine in the antennal lobes were found to be elevated immediately subsequent to the onset of foraging, but they did not change as a consequence of preforaging orientation flight activity, diurnal pauses in foraging, or different amounts of foraging experience, suggesting that octopamine helps to trigger and maintain the foraging behavioral state. In contrast, levels of serotonin and dopamine did not show changes that would implicate them as either causal agents of foraging, or as neurochemical systems affected by the act of foraging. Serotonin treatment had no effect on the likelihood of foraging. These results provide further support for the hypothesis that an increase in octopamine levels in the antennal lobes plays a causal role in the initiation and maintenance of the behavioral state of foraging, and thus is involved in the regulation of division of labor in honey bees.
- Antennal lobes
- Foraging behavior
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience