Morphological analysis of the primary center receiving spatial information transferred by the waggle dance of honeybees

J Comp Neurol. 2013 Aug 1;521(11):2570-84. doi: 10.1002/cne.23299.


The waggle dancers of honeybees encodes roughly the distance and direction to the food source as the duration of the waggle phase and the body angle during the waggle phase. It is believed that hive-mates detect airborne vibrations produced during the waggle phase to acquire distance information and simultaneously detect the body axis during the waggle phase to acquire direction information. It has been further proposed that the orientation of the body axis on the vertical comb is detected by neck hairs (NHs) on the prosternal organ. The afferents of the NHs project into the prothoracic and mesothoracic ganglia and the dorsal subesophageal ganglion (dSEG). This study demonstrates somatotopic organization within the dSEG of the central projections of the mechanosensory neurons of the NHs. The terminals of the NH afferents in dSEG are in close apposition to those of Johnston's organ (JO) afferents. The sensory axons of both terminate in a region posterior to the crossing of the ventral intermediate tract (VIT) and the maxillary dorsal commissures I and III (MxDCI, III) in the subesophageal ganglion. These features of the terminal areas of the NH and JO afferents are common to the worker, drone, and queen castes of honeybees. Analysis of the spatial relationship between the NH neurons and the morphologically and physiologically characterized vibration-sensitive interneurons DL-Int-1 and DL-Int-2 demonstrated that several branches of DL-Int-1 are in close proximity to the central projection of the mechanosensory neurons of the NHs in the dSEG.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Communication*
  • Animals
  • Arthropod Antennae / physiology
  • Bees / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Female
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / anatomy & histology
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / physiology
  • Hair / physiology
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Vibration