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      MEMORIA Y APRENDIZAJE EN LA ESCOGENCIA FLORAL DE LAS ABEJAS Translated title: Memory And Learning In Bees' Floral Choices

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          Abstract

          Los polinizadores altamente especializados en su dieta, no hacen escogencias florales, ellos visitan un recurso específico siguiendo el dictado de la información almacenada en sus genes. En contraste, para la abeja social Apis mellifera una escogencia floral implica, la toma de una decisión, usualmente con criterio económico, basada en información aprendida y almacenada en alguna forma de memoria. Aunque existen numerosos estudios y modelos sobre la escogencia floral en abejas, la gran mayoría de éstos, han derivado sus conclusiones a partir de condiciones temporalmente fijas de la interacción. Muy pocos estudios han abordado la dinámica propia del contexto ecológico, en el cual el mercado floral de las abejas cambia con las estaciones del año y con los patrones diarios de antesis floral. Este cambio en la disponibilidad de especies florales enfrenta a los polinizadores, a realizar escogencias secuenciales acerca del alimento a explotar. En este trabajo abordo el tema del forrajeo secuencial en parches florales heterospecíficos, enfocándome en el uso que la abeja melífera hace de la información previamente aprendida en un contexto, cuando se enfrenta a la explotación de alimento en un contexto ecológicamente diferente. He realizado experimentos sobre escogencia floral simulando las condiciones de cambio del paisaje floral, exponiendo abejas individuales de A. mellifera a decidir sobre cuales especies forrajear en cada parche. Los resultados indican que la abeja invierte en procesos de aprendizaje en un muestreo inicial, pero una vez almacenada la información, utiliza una pieza de la información previamente aprendida (color) para explotar parches florales heteroespecíficos siguiendo una imagen de búsqueda de color. En esta revisión discuto situaciones biológicas de la interacción planta-abeja, las cuales apoyan la idea que en la naturaleza el uso de imágenes de búsqueda de color por parte de abejas sociales puede ser más común de lo que hasta ahora se ha pensado. Beneficios y costos se derivan de este comportamiento.

          Translated abstract

          Pollinators highly specialized in their diet do not make food choices by means of cognitive processes; they just follow the dictate writing in their genes. Contrary, for the social bee Apis mellifera a floral choice implies to make a decision, usually following an economic criterion, based on information acquired from the environment and stored in some form of memory. Although there are numerous studies and models about floral choice in bees, most of them have derived their conclusions from 'static' conditions of the interaction. Rarely those studies have considered the dynamics of the ecological context, in which seasonality and daily rhythms in floral anthesis change the floral market for the bees. The change in flower species composition faces the pollinators to make sequential choices about what plant species to exploit in each case. In this paper I enter the subject about sequential foraging on heterospecific floral patches, focusing on the use that the bee A. mellifera makes of the information previously learned in a context, when the same bee face food exploitation in a completely different ecological context. I have done some experiments simulating two different floral patches, and exposing individuals of A. mellifera to decide about what floral resource to forage in each patch. The results indicate that the bee initially samples alternatives and they do invest on cognitive process to learn about the best flower species, but once this information is stored in the bee's memory, the bee takes a piece of the learned information (color), to use it as a search image while exploiting heterospecific floral patches. In this paper I discuss biological situations, which support the idea that in nature the use of a color search images by social bees, can be more common than it was thought initially. Cost and benefits are derived from this behavior.

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          Most cited references33

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          Insect Pollination of Crops

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            An overview of the relationships between mimicry and crypsis

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              Memory Constraints and Flower Choice in Pieris rapae.

              Darwin hypothesized that flower constancy in insects that feed on nectar results from the need to learn how to extract nectar from a flower of a given species. In laboratory tests, Pieris rapae, the cabbage butterfly, showed flower constancy by continuing to visit flower species with which it had experience. The time required by individuals to find the source of nectar in flowers decreased with successive attempts, the performance following a learning curve. Learning to extract nectar from a second species interfered with the ability to extract nectar from the first. Insects that switch species thus experience a cost in time to learn. These results support recent suggestions on the importance of learning in animal foraging.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ND
                Journal
                abc
                Acta Biológica Colombiana
                Acta biol.Colomb.
                Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Facultad de Ciencias, Departamento de Biología (Bogotá )
                0120-548X
                August 2009
                : 14
                : 2
                : 125-136
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Universidad Nacional de Colombia Colombia
                Article
                S0120-548X2009000200011
                1eea0ae2-deed-4041-9f19-722e118c92d2
                Product
                Product Information: website
                Categories
                BIOLOGY

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