Chair of Behavioral Physiology & Sociobiology

Scheiner lab - Behavioral biology of the honeybee

Honeybees have long been model organisms for neurobiology and behavioral biology. They display an enormous plasticity in their behavior and thus provide ideal conditions for investigating underlying mechanisms of behavioral control. The complex social organisation and individual behavioral decisions are main topics of our research. We are particularly interested in the functions of neurotransmitters such as octopamine and tyramine and of their receptors. In addition, we investigate the role of protein kinases in behavioral control. A second focus of our research lies on understanding taste perception in honeybees. We use a broad spectrum of methods including behavioral observations, behavioral physiology, electrophysiology, molecular biological assays and neuroanatomy.


  • Functions of octopamine and tyramine receptors in controlling honeybee behavior
  • Gene expression, metabolism and division of labor
  • cGMP dependent protein kinase and division of labor
  • Behavioral ecology of honeybee foragers
  • Characterisation of honeybee sugar receptors and relevance of receptors for behavior
  • Studying the effects of novel insecticides on honeybee cognition and behavior
  • Effects of hyperthermia on worker behavior

Selected publications

  • Scheiner, R., Reim, T., Søvik, E., Entler, B. V., Barron, A. B., and Thamm, M. (2017) Learning, gustatory responsiveness and tyramine differences across nurse and forager honeybees, Journal of Experimental Biology, The Company of Biologists Ltd 220, 1443--1450.
  • Thamm, M., Scholl, C., Reim, T., Grübel, K., Möller, K., Rössler, W., and Scheiner, R. (2017) Neuronal distribution of tyramine and the tyramine receptor AmTAR1 in the honeybee brain, Journal of Comparative Neurology 525, 2615-2631.
  • Thamm, M., and Scheiner, R. (2014) PKG in honey bees: Spatial expression, Amfor gene expression, sucrose responsiveness, and division of labor, Journal of Comparative Neurology 522, 1786--1799.
  • Reim, T., and Scheiner, R. (2014) Division of labour in honey bees: age- and task-related changes in the expression of octopamine receptor genes, Insect Molecular Biology 23, 833--841.
  • Scheiner, R., Toteva, A., Reim, T., Søvik, E., and Barron, A. (2014) Differences in the phototaxis of pollen and nectar foraging honey bees are related to their octopamine brain titers, Frontiers in Physiology 5, 116.

Chair of Zoology II
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97074 Würzburg

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