Changes in biogenic amine levels associated with the morphological and behavioural development of the worker honeybee are examined. A significant increase in amine levels in the head of the honeybee is associated with transition from the larval to pupal stage. Adult emergence is also accompanied by a significant increase in 5-HT levels in the brain, but no significant change in brain dopamine (DA) levels. NADA (N-acetyldopamine) levels increase during larval and pupal development, but in contrast to both DA and 5-HT, drop significantly during the transition from pupa to adult. Levels of DA in the brain of nectar and pollen forager bees, presumed to be among the oldest adults sampled, were found to be significantly higher than in nurses, undertakers or food storers. These results suggest that an age-dependent change in amine levels occurs in the brain of the worker bee. In the optic lobes, levels of DA and 5-HT were found to be significantly higher in pollen forager bees than in all other behavioural groups. Significant differences in amine levels in the optic lobes of nectar foragers and pollen foragers indicate that some differences in amine levels occur independent of worker age. The functional significance of differences in brain amine levels and whether or not biogenic amines play a direct role in the control of honeybee behaviour has yet to be established.
- Honeybee brain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Behavioral Neuroscience