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The Influence of Prior Learning Experience on Pollinator Choice: An Experiment Using Bumblebees on Two Wild Floral Types of Antirrhinum majus

Jaworski, Coline C. and Andalo, Christophe and Raynaud, Christine and Simon, Valérie and Thébaud, Christophe and Chave, Jérôme The Influence of Prior Learning Experience on Pollinator Choice: An Experiment Using Bumblebees on Two Wild Floral Types of Antirrhinum majus. (2015) PLoS ONE, 10 (8). e0130225. ISSN 1932-6203

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0130225


Understanding how pollinator behavior may influence pollen transmission across floral types is a major challenge, as pollinator decision depends on a complex range of environmental cues and prior experience. Here we report an experiment using the plant Antirrhinum majus and the bumblebee Bombus terrestris to investigate how prior learning experience may affect pollinator preferences between floral types when these are presented together. We trained naive bumblebees to forage freely on flowering individuals of either A. majus pseudomajus (magenta flowers) or A. majus striatum (yellow flowers) in a flight cage. We then used a Y-maze device to expose trained bumblebees to a dual choice between the floral types. We tested the influence of training on their choice, depending on the type of plant signals available (visual signals, olfactory signals, or both). Bumblebees had no innate preference for either subspecies. Bumblebees trained on the yellow-flowered subspecies later preferred the yellow type, even when only visual or only olfactory signals were available, and their preference was not reinforced when both signal types were available. In contrast, bumblebees trained on the magenta-flowered subspecies showed no further preference between floral types and took slightly more time to make their choice. Since pollinator constancy has been observed in wild populations of A. majus with mixed floral types, we suggest that such constancy likely relies on short-term memory rather than acquired preference through long-term memory induced by prior learning.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This is an openaccess article distributed under the terms of theCreative Commons Attribution License
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - INRA (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - IRD (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:30 Mar 2020 13:33

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