Free access
Volume 27, Number 1, 1996
Page(s) 47 - 54
Apidologie 27 (1996) 47-54
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19960106

Developmental pattern of esterases in Apis mellifera L honey bees. I. Stage-dependent changes of esterase isoenzymes in Africanized workers

V.L.C. Figueiredo, Z.L. Paulino-Simões and M.M.G. Bitondi

Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Departamento de Biologia, Av Bandeirantes, 3900, 14040-901 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

Abstract - The esterases of Africanized Apis mellifera worker honey bees were investigated during pre- and postimaginal development. Embryos, larvae, pupae and adults of different ages were examined. The phenotypic variation detected by electrophoresis on Penetrose 30 gels was stage specific. This variation permitted us to classify seven distinct esterase phenotypes for workers: one for embryos, two for the larval phase, one for prepupae and non-pigmented pupae, one for pupae in the process of pigmentation, one for the final pupal stage and for young adults, and one for adults older than 72 h. This study showed that these esterase phenotypes, in addition to representing markers of specific stages of ontogenetic development, are alternated at the beginning of critical events such as eclosion, larva-pupa transition, cuticle pigmentation and adult emergence.

Key words: esterase / development / Apis mellifera / Africanized honey bee