Dopamine production in the brain is associated with caste-specific morphology and behavior in an artificial intermediate honey bee caste

Citation metadata

Authors: Ken Sasaki and Mariko Harada
Date: Dec. 17, 2020
From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 15, Issue 12)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 7,201 words
Lexile Measure: 1460L

Document controls

Main content

Abstract :

Caste polymorphism in eusocial insects is based on morphological plasticity and linked to physiological and behavioral characteristics. To test the possibility that dopamine production in the brain is associated with the caste-specific morphology and behavior in female honey bees, an intermediate caste was produced via artificial rearing using different amounts of diet, before quantifying the dopamine levels and conducting behavioral tests. In field colonies, individual traits such as mandibular shape, number of ovarioles, diameter of spermatheca, and dopamine levels in the brain differed significantly between workers and queens. Females given 1.5 times the amount of artificial diet that control worker receives during the larval stage in the laboratory had characteristics intermediate between castes. The dopamine levels in the brain were positively correlated with the mandibular shape indexes, number of ovarioles, and spermatheca diameter among artificially reared females. The dopamine levels were significantly higher in females with mandibular notches than those without. In fighting experiments with the intermediate caste females, the winners had significantly higher dopamine levels in the brain than the losers. Brain levels of tyrosine were positively correlated with those of catecholamines but not phenolamines, thereby suggesting a strong metabolic relationship between tyrosine and dopamine. Thus, the caste-specific characteristics of the honey bee are potentially continuous in the same manner as those in primitively eusocial species. Dopamine production in the brain is associated with the continuous caste-specific morphology, as well as being linked to the amount of tyrosine taken from food, and it supports the aggressive behavior of queen-type females.

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A645382712