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Resisting majesty: Apis cerana, has lower antennal sensitivity and decreased attraction to queen mandibular pheromone than Apis mellifera

  • Author(s): Dong, Shihao
  • Wen, Ping
  • Zhang, Qi
  • Li, Xinyu
  • Tan, Ken
  • Nieh, James
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1038/srep44640
Abstract

In highly social bees, queen mandibular pheromone (QMP) is vital for colony life. Both Apis cerana (Ac) and Apis mellifera (Am) share an evolutionarily conserved set of QMP compounds: (E)-9-oxodec-2-enoic acid (9-ODA), (E)-9-hydroxydec-2-enoic acid (9-HDA), (E)-10-hydroxy-dec-2-enoic acid (10-HDA), 10-hydroxy-decanoic acid (10-HDAA), and methyl p-hydroxybenzoate (HOB) found at similar levels. However, evidence suggests there may be species-specific sensitivity differences to QMP compounds because Ac workers have higher levels of ovarian activation than Am workers. Using electroantennograms, we found species-specific sensitivity differences for a blend of the major QMP compounds and three individual compounds (9-HDA, 10-HDAA, and 10-HDA). As predicted, Am was more sensitive than Ac in all cases (1.3- to 2.7- fold higher responses). There were also species differences in worker retinue attraction to three compounds (9-HDA, HOB, and 10-HDA). In all significantly different cases, Am workers were 4.5- to 6.2-fold more strongly attracted than Ac workers were. Thus, Ac workers responded less strongly to QMP than Am workers, and 9-HDA and 10-HDA consistently elicited stronger antennal and retinue formation responses [corrected].

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