Free access
Volume 36, Number 1, January-March 2005
Page(s) 49 - 57
Published online 16 March 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 49-57
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2004068

Age-dependent morphology and ultrastructure of the hypopharyngeal gland of Apis mellifera workers (Hymenoptera, Apidae)

Jeroen Deseyn and Johan Billen

Zoological Institute, University of Leuven, Naamsestraat 59, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

(Received 19 February 2004 - Revised 20 May 2004 - Accepted 28 May 2004; Published online: 16 March 2005)

Abstract - The main secretory products of the hypopharyngeal gland are royal jelly compounds, as well as other substances such as $\alpha$-glucosidase. Our study of the morphology and ultrastructure of this gland in relation to worker's age clearly shows a secretory cycle within the cells, although production of secretion is asynchroneous between different cells within an acinus. Secretory vesicles appear already in 3 day old bees, while peak production is around 6 days. Thereafter, the volume of the acini as well as the number of secretory vesicles decrease and no vesicles are visible after 3 weeks of age. Foragers display degenerative structures in their cells. The hypopharyngeal gland cells of winter bees contain large numbers of secretory vesicles, that are probably stored until spring.

Key words: exocrine gland / hypopharyngeal gland / morphology / ultrastructure

Corresponding author: Jeroen Deseyn

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005

What is OpenURL?

The OpenURL standard is a protocol for transmission of metadata describing the resource that you wish to access.

An OpenURL link contains article metadata and directs it to the OpenURL server of your choice. The OpenURL server can provide access to the resource and also offer complementary services (specific search engine, export of references...). The OpenURL link can be generated by different means.

  • If your librarian has set up your subscription with an OpenURL resolver, OpenURL links appear automatically on the abstract pages.
  • You can define your own OpenURL resolver with your EDPS Account.
    In this case your choice will be given priority over that of your library.
  • You can use an add-on for your browser (Firefox or I.E.) to display OpenURL links on a page (see You should disable this module if you wish to use the OpenURL server that you or your library have defined.