Effects of Nosema apis, N. ceranae, and coinfections on honey bee (Apis mellifera) learning and memory

Charbonneau, L.R.; Hillier, N.K.; Rogers, REL; Williams, Geoffrey Rhys; Shutler, D. (2016). Effects of Nosema apis, N. ceranae, and coinfections on honey bee (Apis mellifera) learning and memory. Scientific Reports, 6(22626), p. 22626. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/srep22626

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Western honey bees (Apis mellifera) face an increasing number of challenges that in recent years have led to significant economic effects on apiculture, with attendant consequences for agriculture. Nosemosis is a fungal infection of honey bees caused by either Nosema apis or N. ceranae. The putative greater virulence of N. ceranae has spurred interest in understanding how it differs from N. apis. Little is known of effects of N. apis or N. ceranae on honey bee learning and memory. Following a Pavlovian model that relies on the proboscis extension reflex, we compared acquisition learning and long-term memory recall of uninfected (control) honey bees versus those inoculated with N. apis, N. ceranae, or both. We also tested whether spore intensity was associated with variation in learning and memory. Neither learning nor memory differed among treatments. There was no evidence of a relationship between spore intensity and learning, and only limited evidence of a negative effect on memory; this occurred only in the co-inoculation treatment. Our results suggest that if Nosema spp. are contributing to unusually high colony losses in recent years, the mechanism by which they may affect honey bees is probably not related to effects on learning or memory, at least as assessed by the proboscis extension reflex.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Institute of Bee Health

UniBE Contributor:

Williams, Geoffrey Rhys

Subjects:

500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

2045-2322

Publisher:

Nature Publishing Group

Language:

English

Submitter:

Geoffrey Rhys Williams

Date Deposited:

24 May 2016 11:35

Last Modified:

23 Feb 2021 20:46

Publisher DOI:

10.1038/srep22626

PubMed ID:

26961062

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.82441

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/82441

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