Light and Temperature Entrainment of a Locomotor Rhythm in Honeybees

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Abstract. The circadian locomotor (walking) rhythms of forager honeybees (Apis mellifera ligustica L.) were entrained to eight different 24 h light‐dark cycles. The phases of activity onset, peak activity, and offset were correlated with the lights‐off transition, suggesting lights‐off as the primary zeitgeber for the rhythm. Further support for this hypothesis was provided by LD 1:23 experiments, in which entrainment occurred when the light pulse was situated at the end, but not at the beginning, of the subjective photophase. Steady‐state entrainment of the locomotor rhythm was achieved with square‐wave temperature cycles of 10oC amplitude under constant dark: most of the activity occurred within the early thermophase. Smaller amplitude temperature cycles yielded relative coordination of the rhythm. Interactions of temperature and light‐dark cycles resulted in entrainment patterns different from those elicited in response to either cycle alone or those formed by a simple combination of the two separate responses. Furthermore, temperature cycles having amplitudes insufficient for entrainment of the rhythm nevertheless modified the pattern of entrainment to light ‐ dark cycles, suggesting a synergism of light and temperature effects on the underlying circadian clock system.