Martin, SJ, Shemilt, S, da S. Lima, CB and de Carvalho, CAL (2017) Are Isomeric Alkenes Used in Species Recognition among Neo-Tropical Stingless Bees (Melipona Spp). Journal of Chemical Ecology, 43 (11-12). 1066 - 1072. ISSN 0098-0331

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Our understanding of the role of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHC) in recognition is based largely on temperate ant species and honey bees. The stingless bees remain relatively poorly studied, despite being the largest group of eusocial bees, comprising more than 400 species in some 60 genera. The Meliponini and Apini diverged between 80–130 Myr B.P. so the evolutionary trajectories that shaped the chemical communication systems in ants, honeybees and stingless bees may be very different. The aim of this study was to study if a unique species CHC signal existed in Neotropical stingless bees, as has been shown for many temperate species, and what compounds are involved. This was achieved by collecting CHC data from 24 colonies belonging to six species of Melipona from North-Eastern Brazil and comparing the results with previously published CHC studies on Melipona. We found that each of the eleven Melipona species studied so far each produced a unique species CHC signal based around their alkene isomer production. A remarkable number of alkene isomers, up to 25 in M. asilvai, indicated the diversification of alkene positional isomers among the stingless bees. The only other group to have really diversified in alkene isomer production are the primitively eusocial Bumblebees (Bombus spp), which are the sister group of the stingless bees. Furthermore, among the eleven Neotropical Melipona species we could detect no effect of the environment on the proportion of alkane production as has been suggested for some other species.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Isomeric alkenes, species, recognition, neo-tropical, stingless bees, melipona spp.
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2020 11:11
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2020 14:53

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