Associative learning and discrimination of motion cues in the harnessed honeybee Apis mellifera L.

Sayaka Hori, Hideaki Takeuchi, Takeo Kubo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


We previously studied a conditioning paradigm to associate the proboscis extension reflex (PER) with monochromatic light (conditioned stimulus; CS) in harnessed honeybees. Here, we established a novel conditioning paradigm to associate the PER with a motion cue generated using graphics interchange format (GIF) animations with a speed of 12 mm/s speed and a frame rate of 25 Hz as the CS, which were projected onto a screen consisting of a translucent circular cone that largely covered the visual field of the harnessed bee using two liquid crystal projectors. The acquisition rate reached a plateau at approximately 40% after seven trials, indicating that the bees were successfully conditioned with the motion cue. We demonstrated four properties of the conditioning paradigm. First, the acquisition rate was enhanced by antennae deprivation, suggesting that sensory input from the antennae interferes with the visual associative learning. Second, bees conditioned with a backward-direction motion cue did not respond to the forward-direction, suggesting that bees can discriminate the two directions in this paradigm. Third, the bees can retain memory for motion cue direction for 48 h. Finally, the acquisition rate did not differ significantly between foragers and nurse bees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-833
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Associative learning
  • Honeybee
  • Liquid crystal projector
  • Motion
  • Optic flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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