Effects of queen mandibular pheromone on nestmate recognition in worker honeybees, Apis mellifera

Yongliang Fan, Freddie Jeanne Richard, Nabila Rouf, Christina M. Grozinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ability to distinguish between members of a social group and unfamiliar individuals is a critical element of social behaviour. Social insects can differentiate between nestmates and non-nestmates via recognition cues, which in most species are cuticular hydrocarbons. Cuticular hydrocarbon patterns are altered by genotype and environmental conditions, but it is unclear whether colony social conditions can also affect nestmate interactions. Honeybee queens produce pheromones that regulate many aspects of worker behaviour, physiology and colony organization. A five-component blend, queen mandibular pheromone (QMP), produces many of the effects of a live queen. We found that QMP treatment alters how resident bees interact with intruder bees, based on standard nestmate recognition assays. However, QMP does not appear to alter the ability of bees to distinguish between nestmates and non-nestmates, or general aggression levels. Rather, QMP exposure significantly alters cuticular hydrocarbon patterns of worker bees, suggesting that QMP-treated nestmates are no longer recognized as nestmates by untreated bees, and vice versa. Thus, queen pheromone can have significant effects on nestmate recognition and interactions in honeybees, which may be important for colony cohesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-656
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume79
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010

Fingerprint

nestmate recognition
worker honey bees
honeybee
pheromone
queen insects
Apis mellifera
pheromones
bee
Apoidea
hydrocarbons
hydrocarbon
queen pheromones
queen honey bees
worker bees
social insects
cohesion
social behavior
honey bees
social insect
effect

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Fan, Yongliang ; Richard, Freddie Jeanne ; Rouf, Nabila ; Grozinger, Christina M. / Effects of queen mandibular pheromone on nestmate recognition in worker honeybees, Apis mellifera. In: Animal Behaviour. 2010 ; Vol. 79, No. 3. pp. 649-656.
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Effects of queen mandibular pheromone on nestmate recognition in worker honeybees, Apis mellifera. / Fan, Yongliang; Richard, Freddie Jeanne; Rouf, Nabila; Grozinger, Christina M.

In: Animal Behaviour, Vol. 79, No. 3, 01.03.2010, p. 649-656.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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