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J Chem Ecol. 2006 Jul;32(7):1555-64. Epub 2006 May 23.

Hexyl decanoate, the first trail pheromone compound identified in a stingless bee, Trigona recursa.

Author information

1
Department of Experimental Ecology, University of Ulm, Germany. stefan.jarau@uni-ulm.de

Abstract

Foragers of many species of stingless bees guide their nestmates to food sources by means of scent trails deposited on solid substrates between the food and the nest. The corresponding trail pheromones are generally believed to be produced in the mandibular glands, although definitive experimental proof has never been provided. We tested the trail following behavior of recruits of Trigona recursa in field experiments with artificial scent trails branching off from natural scent trails of this stingless bee. First-time recruits (newcomers) did not follow these trails when they were laid with pure solvent or mandibular gland extract. However, they did follow trails made with labial gland extract. Chemical analyses of labial gland secretions revealed that hexyl decanoate was the dominant component (72.4 +/- 1.9% of all volatiles). Newcomers were significantly attracted to artificial trails made with synthetic hexyl decanoate, demonstrating its key function in eliciting scent-following behavior. According to our experiments with T. recursa, the trail pheromone is produced in the labial glands and not in the mandibular glands. Hexyl decanoate is the first component of a trail pheromone identified and proved to be behaviorally active in stingless bees.

PMID:
16718558
DOI:
10.1007/s10886-006-9069-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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