Are isomeric alkenes used in species recognition among neo-tropical stingless bees (Melipona spp)

Martin, SJ, Shemilt, S, Lima, CBS and Carvalho, CAL 2017, 'Are isomeric alkenes used in species recognition among neo-tropical stingless bees (Melipona spp)' , Journal of Chemical Ecology . (In Press)

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Abstract

The majority of 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. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to study if a unique species CHC signal existed in Neotropical stingless bees, as shown for many temperate species, and if so 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 this new data with all 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
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0098-0331
Funders: Brazilain goverment CNPq
Depositing User: SJ Martin
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2017 14:35
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2017 15:52
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/44192

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