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Assessment of gustatory responses to different sugars in harnessed and free-moving bumblebee workers (Bombus terrestris)

(2013) CHEMICAL SENSES. 38(5). p.399-407
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Abstract
For bumblebee colony survival, sugar responses are crucial as nectar is the main carbohydrate source and flower choice is likely determined by sugar composition. This study used a bioassay both with harnessed and with free-moving workers of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris to study the gustatory response to the 3 major plant sugars by both groups. In harnessed workers of B. terrestris, a concentration of 5.5% of fructose and glucose was required to induce the proboscis extension reflex in 50% of the workers, whereas for sucrose, a much higher concentration of 40% was needed. In contrast, free-moving workers given a choice between 30% glucose, 30% sucrose, 30% fructose, and water showed a strong preference for sucrose (66% of individuals) compared with 18% for glucose and 16% for fructose; water was never chosen. Familiarization with 30% fructose provoked a significant increase in preference toward fructose, indicating plasticity. In addition, by amputation of the tarsi, it was found that tarsi plays a role in the sugar response with especially the foreleg tarsi being involved in the response to fructose. Our results demonstrated that sugar response is different in free-moving versus harnessed bumblebee workers and that tarsi plays a role in sugar perception.
Keywords
THRESHOLDS, SUCROSE, GENOTYPE, TASTE, FORAGING BEHAVIOR, PROBOSCIS EXTENSION, HONEY-BEES, AMINO-ACIDS, APIS-MELLIFERA L., DIVISION-OF-LABOR, sugar response, tarsi, taste, plant sugars, Bombus terrestris, harnessed bumblebees

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Citation

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Chicago
Mommaerts, Veerle, Felix Wäckers, and Guy Smagghe. 2013. “Assessment of Gustatory Responses to Different Sugars in Harnessed and Free-moving Bumblebee Workers (Bombus Terrestris).” Chemical Senses 38 (5): 399–407.
APA
Mommaerts, V., Wäckers, F., & Smagghe, G. (2013). Assessment of gustatory responses to different sugars in harnessed and free-moving bumblebee workers (Bombus terrestris). CHEMICAL SENSES, 38(5), 399–407.
Vancouver
1.
Mommaerts V, Wäckers F, Smagghe G. Assessment of gustatory responses to different sugars in harnessed and free-moving bumblebee workers (Bombus terrestris). CHEMICAL SENSES. 2013;38(5):399–407.
MLA
Mommaerts, Veerle, Felix Wäckers, and Guy Smagghe. “Assessment of Gustatory Responses to Different Sugars in Harnessed and Free-moving Bumblebee Workers (Bombus Terrestris).” CHEMICAL SENSES 38.5 (2013): 399–407. Print.
@article{3236255,
  abstract     = {For bumblebee colony survival, sugar responses are crucial as nectar is the main carbohydrate source and flower choice is likely determined by sugar composition. This study used a bioassay both with harnessed and with free-moving workers of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris to study the gustatory response to the 3 major plant sugars by both groups. In harnessed workers of B. terrestris, a concentration of 5.5\% of fructose and glucose was required to induce the proboscis extension reflex in 50\% of the workers, whereas for sucrose, a much higher concentration of 40\% was needed. In contrast, free-moving workers given a choice between 30\% glucose, 30\% sucrose, 30\% fructose, and water showed a strong preference for sucrose (66\% of individuals) compared with 18\% for glucose and 16\% for fructose; water was never chosen. Familiarization with 30\% fructose provoked a significant increase in preference toward fructose, indicating plasticity. In addition, by amputation of the tarsi, it was found that tarsi plays a role in the sugar response with especially the foreleg tarsi being involved in the response to fructose. Our results demonstrated that sugar response is different in free-moving versus harnessed bumblebee workers and that tarsi plays a role in sugar perception.},
  author       = {Mommaerts, Veerle and W{\"a}ckers, Felix and Smagghe, Guy},
  issn         = {0379-864X},
  journal      = {CHEMICAL SENSES},
  keyword      = {THRESHOLDS,SUCROSE,GENOTYPE,TASTE,FORAGING BEHAVIOR,PROBOSCIS EXTENSION,HONEY-BEES,AMINO-ACIDS,APIS-MELLIFERA L.,DIVISION-OF-LABOR,sugar response,tarsi,taste,plant sugars,Bombus terrestris,harnessed bumblebees},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {399--407},
  title        = {Assessment of gustatory responses to different sugars in harnessed and free-moving bumblebee workers (Bombus terrestris)},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/chemse/bjt014},
  volume       = {38},
  year         = {2013},
}

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