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Neuroanatomical differentiation in dimorphic male C. pallida and A. dawsoni bees (volumes)

Cite this dataset

Barrett, Meghan et al. (2021). Neuroanatomical differentiation in dimorphic male C. pallida and A. dawsoni bees (volumes) [Dataset]. Dryad.


Alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs) occur when there is categorical variation in the reproductive strategies of a sex within a population. These different behavioral phenotypes can expose animals to distinct cognitive challenges, which may be addressed through neuroanatomical differentiation. The dramatic phenotypic plasticity underlying ARTs provides a powerful opportunity to study how intraspecific nervous system variation can support distinct cognitive abilities. We hypothesized that conspecific animals pursuing ARTs would exhibit dissimilar brain architecture. Dimorphic males of the bee species Centris pallida and Amegilla dawsoni use alternative mate location strategies that rely primarily on either olfaction (large-morph) or vision (small-morph) to find females. This variation in behavior led us to predict increased volumes of the brain regions supporting their primarily chemosensory or visual mate location strategies. Large-morph males relying mainly on olfaction had relatively larger antennal lobes and relatively smaller optic lobes than small-morph males relying primarily on visual cues. In both species, as relative volumes of the optic lobe increased, the relative volume of the antennal lobe decreased. In addition, A. dawsoni large males had relatively larger mushroom body lips, which process olfactory inputs. Our results suggest that the divergent behavioral strategies in ART systems can be associated with neuroanatomical differentiation.


Read associated publication (Barrett et al. 2021 in JCPA) for detailed methods. 


Drexel University

National Science Foundation, Award: 1929499