Meenakshi Vijaykumar, Sandhya Mogily, Aparna Dutta-Gupta, and Joby Joseph

The capacity and condition under which the lateral transfer of olfactory memory is possible in insects is still debated. Here, we present evidence in two species of honeybees, Apis mellifera and Apis dorsata, consistent with the lack of ability to transfer olfactory associative memory in a proboscis extension response (PER) associative conditioning paradigm, where the untrained antenna is blocked by an insulating coat. We show that the olfactory system on each side of the bee can learn and retrieve information independently and the retrieval using the antenna on the side contralateral to the trained one is not affected by the training. Using the setup in which the memory on the contralateral side has been reported at 3 h after training, we see that the memory is available on the contralateral side immediately after training. In the same setup, coating the antenna with an insulator on the training side does not prevent learning, pointing to a possible insufficiency of the block of odor stimuli in this setup. Moreover, the behavior of the bee as a whole can be predicted if the sides are assumed to learn and store independently, and the organism as a whole is able to retrieve the memory if either of the sides have the memory.

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