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Volume 35, Number 5, September-October 2004
Page(s) 503 - 511
Apidologie 35 (2004) 503-511
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2004043

Instrumental insemination of Apis mellifera queens with hetero- and conspecific spermatozoa results in different sperm survival

Mananya Phiancharoena, Siriwat Wongsiria, Nikolaus Koenigerb and Gudrun Koenigerb

a  Center of Excellence in Entomology: Bee Biology, Biodiversity of Insects and Mites, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
b  Institut für Bienenkunde (Polytechnische Gesellschaft), Fachbereich Biologie und Informatik der J.W. Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main, Karl-von-Frisch-Weg 2, 61440 Oberursel, Germany

(Received 21 October 2003; revised 11 January 2004; accepted 31 January 2004)

Abstract - Sixty three queens of Apis mellifera were inseminated each with about 8 million spermatozoa from either 1 A. mellifera drone, 8 A. cerana, 5 A. dorsata or 20 A. florea drones. Spermatozoa were collected from vesiculae seminales, diluted in buffer and re-concentrated at 1,000 g for 10 minutes. Between 1.4% and 2.8% of the spermatozoa reached the spermatheca. Motility of spermatozoa of A. mellifera and A. cerana did not change within 4 weeks, it was nearly 100%. The motility of A. florea spermatozoa decreased to 83.4% after 3 days and to 33.9% after 4 weeks and motility of A. dorsata spermatozoa decreased to 61.2% after 3 days and to 26% after 4 weeks. Fertilization of A. mellifera eggs was 57% by A. mellifera spermatozoa. Calculation based on non-hatching eggs showed that about 40% were fertilized by A. cerana and A. florea and less than 20% by A. dorsata spermatozoa. The composition of spermathecal fluid seems to be different within the species and its significance for long term sperm storage is discussed.

Key words: sperm survival / spermathecal fluid / hetero specific insemination / Apis mellifera queens / Apis species

Corresponding author: Gudrun Koeniger

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2004