In the first 15 min after a single learning trial the olfactory memory of the honeybee, Apis mellifera, proceeds through different processing phases during which time the memory is differentially sensitive to a cooling treatment that causes amnesia. During learning about floral odours in a natural situation, several decisions would normally be made about floral choice within that period. In order to study these phenomena in more detail, single-trial proboscis extension conditioning to different odorants was used. Several stimulus-specific effects on memory consolidation in the honeybee are shown. From previous experiments it was predicted that certain odorants would be more salient conditioning stimuli. This result is confirmed. Second, generalization from the conditioned odorant to a different odorant depends on the conditioned odorant and the time postconditioning. In some combinations, responses to a novel odorant are significantly stronger than responses to the conditioning odorant after memory consolidation. These data indicate that memory recall in the honeybee, as it is evidenced by proboscis extension, is sensitive to several aspects of stimulus identity and presentation. The acquisition and recall processes are therefore much more dynamic processes than realized previously.

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