Event Title : Conserved hormonal and molecular mechanisms underlying behavioural maturation in open- and cavity-nesting honey bees

Session Theme : Neurons, circuits and behaviour, Session Chair : Bhavana Muralidharan
Speaker Name: 
Sruthi Unnikrishnan
Start Time: 
Monday, January 10, 2022 - 19:00
End Time: 
Monday, January 10, 2022 - 19:10
Talks Abstract: 

Behavioural development, where several hormones and neuromodulators coordinate a succession of developmental changes, is a process common across all animal taxa. Social insects have successfully co-opted this process as the basis for their division of labour, for example, age polyethism. Age polyethism, where individuals perform different tasks as they age, has been extensively studied from the level of hormones to brain gene expression in the temperate honey bee, Apis mellifera. Given this detailed knowledge we explore the mechanism of behavioural maturation across other Apis species that differ in size, habitat range and nesting ecology. Based on their nesting biology honey bees are classified as, the ancestral open-nesting and the derived cavity-nesting. The differences in nesting biology are hypothesized to cause a delay in onset of foraging in open-nesting bees. In addition, temperate bees, like A. mellifera, are also expected to have faster maturation due to limitation in flowering periods and the need for large stores of nectar for winter. Comparative studies between two tropical species, A. florea (open-nesting) and A. cerana (cavity-nesting) indicate that workers of A. florea exhibit a slower pace of behavioural maturation and on average start foraging at a later age. However, the basic hormonal and molecular changes associated with onset of foraging are similar in both. Based on our findings, we propose that evolution of accelerated behavioural maturation in cavity-nesting species is likely attributed to changes in the temporal dynamics of juvenile hormone.

Event Day: 
Day 1 (10th Jan 2022)