Free Access
Volume 33, Number 3, May-June 2002
Page(s) 283 - 288

Apidologie 33 (2002) 283-288
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2002011

Sexing of newly hatched live larvae of the honey bee, Apis mellifera, allows the recognition of diploid drones

Giulia Santomauro and Wolf Engels

Zoologisches Institut, LS Entwicklungsphysiologie, Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, 72076 Tübingen, Germany

(Received 15 February 2001; revised 14 January 2002; accepted 15 January 2002)

In the honey bee, it is difficult to recognise the sex in first instar larvae. As workers and haploid drones develop in differently sized brood cells, they can be discriminated without sex inspection. However, because diploid drone larvae originate from fertilised eggs like workers, they hatch in brood cells of the same type and cannot be sampled according to cell size. In search of a reliable method of sexing live first instar larvae, we found that the contour and size proportions of the epiproct can be used for discrimination. The sex diagnosis based on these characters is carried out rapidly under a stereo microscope and allows the collection of pure samples of newly hatched diploid drone larvae from brood combs of inbred colonies.

Key words: Apis mellifera / sexing of live larvae / epiproct / diploid drones

Correspondence and reprints: Wolf Engels

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2002