Martin, SJ, Correia-Oliveira, ME, Shemilt, S and Drijfhout, FP (2018) Is the Salivary Gland Associated with Honey Bee Recognition Compounds in Worker Honey Bees (Apis mellifera)? Journal of Chemical Ecology, 44 (7/8). pp. 650-657. ISSN 0098-0331

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Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) function as recognition compounds with the best evidence coming from social insects such as ants and honey bees. The major exocrine gland involved in hydrocarbon storage in ants is the post-pharyngeal gland (PPG) in the head. It is still not clearly understood where CHCs are stored in the honey bee. The aim of this study was to investigate the hydrocarbons and esters found in five major worker honey bee (Apis mellifera) exocrine glands, at three different developmental stages (newly emerged, nurse, and forager) using a high temperature GC analysis. We found the hypopharyngeal gland contained no hydrocarbons nor esters, and the thoracic salivary and mandibular glands only contained trace amounts of n-alkanes. However, the cephalic salivary gland (CSG) contained the greatest number and highest quantity of hydrocarbons relative to the five other glands with many of the hydrocarbons also found in the Dufour's gland, but at much lower levels. We discovered a series of oleic acid wax esters that lay beyond the detection of standard GC columns. As a bee's activities changed, as it ages, the types of compounds detected in the CSG also changed. For example, newly emerged bees have predominately C19-C23n-alkanes, alkenes and methyl-branched compounds, whereas the nurses' CSG had predominately C31:1 and C33:1 alkene isomers, which are replaced by a series of oleic acid wax esters in foragers. These changes in the CSG were mirrored by corresponding changes in the adults' CHCs profile. This indicates that the CSG may have a parallel function to the PPG found in ants acting as a major storage gland of CHCs. As the CSG duct opens into the buccal cavity the hydrocarbons can be worked into the comb wax and could help explain the role of comb wax in nestmate recognition experiments.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Springer at - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Apis mellifera, Cuticular profiles, Cephalic salivary gland, Mandibular gland, Exocrine glands, Post-pharyngeal gland, Sociobiology
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2018 14:16
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2018 14:21

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