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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1990 Jul;79(1):31-8.

Caste and metamorphosis: hemolymph titers of juvenile hormone and ecdysteroids in last instar honeybee larvae.

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  • 1LS Entwicklungsphysiologie, Zoologisches Institut, Tübingen, Federal Republic of Germany.


Juvenile hormone (JH) and ecdysteroid titers are critical factors for caste development and metamorphosis in the last larval instar of the honeybee, Apis mellifera. Two highly sensitive radioimmunoassays were used for the determination of these hormones in the hemolymph. For juvenile hormone, which is of prime importance for the control of caste development in honeybees, our data show a caste-specific peak in queen larvae of the early fifth instar. A second peak appears in prepupae of both castes which probably is responsible for the regulation of the pupal moult. A single peak of ecdysteroids was observed in prepupae of both castes. In queens, however, the titer increases distinctly earlier than in worker larvae. The ecdysteroid composition of this prepupal peak was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography separation followed by radioimmunoassay. Makisterone A proved to be the main ecdysteroid compound, but 20-hydroxyecdysone was also found in significant amounts.

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