The ability of honeybees (Apis mellifera) to learn and recognise peripherally presented patterns was investigated by training bees in a Y-maze which presented patterns on the side walls, the ceiling or the floor. We found that pattern orientation is learnt and recognised in the lateral and frontal visual field, but not in the dorsal or ventral fields. Colour information, in contrast, is used in the lateral and frontal as well as the ventral visual field, but not in the dorsal field. If pattern orientation is different on opposite sides of the visual field during training, both patterns are learned, but each on its own is sufficient for the bees to recognise the learnt stimulus. However, unilaterally learnt pattern information, be it orientation or colour, cannot be accessed when the test pattern is viewed on the other side. That is, interocular transfer of such information does not occur.

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