Sep 29, 2011

Visual experience affects both behavioral and neuronal aspects in the individual life history of the desert ant Cataglyphis fortis

Developmental Neurobiology
Sara Mae StiebWolfgang Rössler

Abstract

The individual life history of the desert ant Cataglyphis fortis is characterized by a fast transition from interior tasks to mainly visually guided foraging. Previous studies revealed a remarkable structural synaptic plasticity in visual and olfactory input regions within the mushroom bodies of the ants' brain centers involved in learning and memory. Reorganization of synaptic complexes (microglomeruli) was shown to be triggered by sensory exposure rather than an internal program. Using video analyses at the natural nest site and activity recordings after artificial light treatments we investigated whether the ants get exposed to light before onset of foraging and whether this changes the ants' activity levels. We asked whether synaptic reorganization occurs in a similar time window by immunolabeling and quantification of pre- and postsynaptic compartments of visual and olfactory microglomeruli after periods of light-exposure. Ants reverted back to dark nest conditions were used to investigate whether synaptic reorganization is reversible. The behavior analyses revealed that late-interior ants (diggers) are exposed to light and perform exploration runs up to 2 days before they start foraging. This corresponds well with the res...Continue Reading

  • References24
  • Citations27

References

  • References24
  • Citations27

Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

Visual System
Behavior, Animal
Memory Training
Complex (molecular entity)
Neurons
Cataglyphis fortis
Visual Perception
Cataglyphis savignyi
Smell Perception
Neuronal Plasticity

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