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J Chem Ecol. 2007 Apr;33(4):849-59. Epub 2007 Mar 3.

Food wrapping with the postpharyngeal gland secretion by females of the European beewolf Philanthus triangulum.

Author information

1
Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, University of Würzburg, Biozentrum, Am Hubland, D-97074, Würzburg, Germany. gudrun.herzner@biologie.uni-regensburg.de

Abstract

Ground-nesting animals share their habitat with countless microorganisms that can play important roles as pathogens or competitors for food resources. Thus, species that store food in the soil, either for themselves or for their progeny, must protect these resources against microbial degradation. Females of the European beewolf, Philanthus triangulum, hunt honeybees as provisions for their brood and store the paralyzed prey in their subterranean nests. A previous study had shown that females lick the surface of prey before oviposition and that this licking treatment delays mold growth. Here, we showed that females apply large amounts of a secretion from their postpharyngeal glands onto the surface of their prey during the licking behavior. Inhibition-zone assays showed that comparatively large amounts of the gland secretion had no direct antimycotic effect. We discuss our findings with regard to other possible mechanisms of the postpharyngeal gland secretion against fungal growth.

PMID:
17334918
DOI:
10.1007/s10886-007-9263-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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