Free Access
Volume 24, Number 6, 1993
Page(s) 539 - 548
Apidologie 24 (1993) 539-548
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19930601

Age-related patterns of volatile cephalic constituents in queens of the neotropical stingless bee Scaptotrigona postica Latr (Hymenoptera, Apidae)

E. Engelsa, W. Engelsa, G. Lübkeb, W. Schröderb and W. Franckeb

a  Zoologisches Institut der Universität, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, D -72076 Tübingen, Germany
b  Institut für Organische Chemie und Biochemie der Universität, Martin-Luther-King-Platz 6, D-20146 Hamburg, Germany

Abstract - In heads of queens of the neotropical stingless bee Scaptotrigona postica identification and quantification of 68 volatile compounds was carried out by individual GC/MS analysis. Hydrocarbons, alcohols, esters, carboxylic acids, methylketones and lactones were found in distinct ontogenetic patterns. In all young queens secondary alcohols constitute 60-80% of the cephalic secretions. In receptive virgins 10-12 d after emergence the odour pattern contains = 7% methylketones. Only in recently mated queens at the age of 12-14 d did the amount of unsaturated butyrates reach = 20%. In old egg-laying queens carboxylic acids (> 80%) are the main components, while Z-9-tricosene forms the major component in the neutral fraction. The presumable functions of the queen pheromone in stingless bees have been discussed in relation to reproductive biology and colony cycle.

Key words: stingless bee / reproduction / queen cephalic volatile / age-related variation / pheromone / Scaptotrigona postica