Free Access
Volume 36, Number 4, October-December 2005
Page(s) 543 - 546
Apidologie 36 (2005) 543-546
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2005041

Morphology of the Dufour gland within the honey bee sting gland complex

Stephen J. Martina, Vicky Dilsb and Johan Billenb

a  Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
b  Zoological Institute, University of Leuven, Naamsestraat 59, B-3000, Leuven, Belgium

(Received 29 November 2004 - revised 31 January 2005 - accepted 3 February 2005; Published online: 13 September 2005)

Abstract - The Dufour gland in the honeybee exits between the sting lancets. The exit is very narrow and indistinct, and is in the same position in both the queens and workers of the both Apis mellifera and Apis cerana. The gland's exit is close to the setosa membrane, a region of cuticle, which acts as a platform for pheromone release. This is consistent with the idea that the Dufour gland secretes compounds that are utilised in defence by workers or reproduction in queens.

Key words: Apis / honeybee / Dufour gland / sting / morphology

Corresponding author: Stephen J. Martin

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005