TitleSearch Behavior of Individual Foragers Involves Neurotransmitter Systems Characteristic for Social Scouting
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsChatterjee A, Bais D, Brockmann A, Ramesh D
JournalFront. Insect Sci
Date Published06/2021

In honey bees search behavior occurs as social and solitary behavior. In the context of foraging, searching for food sources is performed by behavioral specialized foragers, the scouts. When the scouts have found a new food source, they recruit other foragers (recruits). These recruits never search for a new food source on their own. However, when the food source is experimentally removed, they start searching for that food source. Our study provides a detailed description of this solitary search behavior and the variation of this behavior among individual foragers. Furthermore, mass spectrometric measurement showed that the initiation and performance of this solitary search behavior is associated with changes in glutamate, GABA, histamine, aspartate, and the catecholaminergic system in the optic lobes and central brain area. These findings strikingly correspond with the results of an earlier study that showed that scouts and recruits differ in the expression of glutamate and GABA receptors. Together, the results of both studies provide first clear support for the hypothesis that behavioral specialization in honey bees is based on adjusting modulatory systems involved in solitary behavior to increase the probability or frequency of that behavior.