Chemical communication in Apis mellifera: Temporal modulation of alarm behaviors
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The effect of pheromones and their chemical analogues in honeybee alarm behaviors was studied in observation boxes. Defensive behaviors, as follows: a) attraction to scent source, b) elevation of wings in 'V', c) abdomen elevation, d) abdomen elevation and pumping and e) first leg pair elevation had been temporarily registered when the following compounds were presented: isoamyl alcohol, octyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol, n-butyl acetate, n-octyl acetate, isopentyl acetate, benzyl acetate and 2-heptanone. The results were as follows: 1. the bees elicited some characteristic behaviors when chemical alarm messages were presented, 2. agression (stinging) was not completed with any compound tested, probably because there was not a target (visual stimulus), 3. in all situations the attraction to scent source was low, 4. all the behaviors were elicited in a temporarily different way, 5. the compounds that elicited stronger responses and a greater number of the investigated behaviors were: isopentyl acetate, 2-heptanone, octyl acetate and n-octyl alcohol. In all situations, the first behavior response (and the most intense one) was the elevation and pumping the abdomen. This suggests that the chemical message was promptly recognized and then transmitted to each worker. So, the results obtained in the present work, suggest that chemical alarm messages may be recognized by different mechanisms of neural integration.