Selection on a haploid genotype for discrimination learning performance: Correlation between drone honey bees (Apis mellifera) and their worker progeny (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

Shirly T. Benatar, Susan Cobey, Brian H. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Successful bidirectional selection for discriminative olfactory learning is reported for drone honey bees (Apis mellifera). Learning performance was evaluated using a discrimination conditioning procedure that required drones to discriminate between an appetitively reinforced odorant and one that was followed by punishment. Selective breeding produced high- and low-learning-performance lines of worker progeny that diverged from performance of workers whose fathers were selected at random. Furthermore, we show that levels of sucrose-induced sensitization are not correlated to learning performance. These results corroborate earlier findings and further demonstrate the power of selection on a haploid (drone) genotype. In addition, this study now shows that the demonstrated differences in learning performance cannot be completely accounted for by alteration of sucrose-induced sensitization. Thus, using this technique, it may be possible to select for associative conditioning without a pleiotropic increase in sensitization. The honey bee will be ideally suited to these types of correlation analyses in future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-652
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 1995
Externally publishedYes



  • Apis mellifera
  • discrimination conditioning
  • haploid
  • honey bees
  • selection response
  • sensitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science

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