Free Access
Volume 21, Number 5, 1990
Anna Maurizio
Page(s) 457 - 468
Apidologie 21 (1990) 457-468
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19900507

Patterns of larval food production by hypopharyngeal glands in adult worker honey bees

D. Knecht and H.H. Kaatz

Lehrstuhl Entwicklungsphysiologie, Zoologisches Institut der Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, D-7400 Tübingen, FRG

Abstract - Ultrastructural changes of the hypopharyngeal gland cells were analyzed during imaginal development of worker honey bees (Apis mellifera L). The rough endoplasmic reticulum increases immediately after emergence, reaches a maximum during the nursing phase and decreases in field bees. Accordingly, high rates of protein synthesis were measured in nurse bees and low protein production in foragers. Secretion reservoirs are formed within the intracellular ductules. They are surrounded by a sheath of numerous microvilli. Larval food proteins are secreted into the reservoirs and stored as demonstrated immunocytochemically. Even in foraging bees, small amounts of larval food proteins are stored, indicating the flexibility of the worker to potentially react to changing colonial and environmental conditions.

Key words: Apis mellifera / hypopharyngeal gland / protein synthesis / ultrastructure / immunocytochemistry / ontogenesis