The glomerular code for odor representation is species specific in the honeybee Apis mellifera


Odors are coded by glomerular activity patterns in the insect antennal lobe (AL) and in the mammalian olfactory bulb. We measured glomerular responses to 30 different odors in the AL of honeybees using calcium-sensitive dyes. By subsequently staining glomeruli and identifying individual glomerular outlines, we were able to compare the patterns between animals. Regardless of whether the odors were mixtures or pure substances, environmental odors or pheromones, their representations were highly conserved among individuals. Therefore, it may be possible to create a functional atlas of the AL in which particular molecular receptive ranges are attributed to each glomerulus.

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Figure 1: Mapping identified glomeruli of the honeybee AL by calcium imaging.
Figure 2: Intraspecific variability of the response to 1-hexanol: comparison of response patterns to 1-hexanol in 21 individuals.
Figure 3: Averaged glomerular spatial response patterns to 1-octanol and to clove oil.
Figure 4: Glomerular representation of all odors tested.


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Thanks to J. Kunze and A. Gumbert for the odors HYA and NAR. Thanks to T. Faber, M. Wurm for comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Supported by DFG Me 365-21.

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Correspondence to C. Giovanni Galizia.

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Galizia, C., Sachse, S., Rappert, A. et al. The glomerular code for odor representation is species specific in the honeybee Apis mellifera. Nat Neurosci 2, 473–478 (1999).

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