Using errors by guard honeybees (Apis mellifera) to gain new insights into nestmate recognition signals

Pradella, D, Martin, SJ ORCID: and Dani, FR 2015, 'Using errors by guard honeybees (Apis mellifera) to gain new insights into nestmate recognition signals' , Chemical Senses, 40 (9) , pp. 649-653.

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Although the honeybee (Apis mellifera) is one of the world most studied insects, the chemical compounds used in nestmate recognition, remains an open question. By exploiting the error prone recognition system of the honeybee, coupled with genotyping, we studied the correlation between cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) profile of returning foragers and acceptance or rejection behavior by guards. We revealed an average recognition error rate of 14% across 3 study colonies, that is, allowing a non-nestmate colony entry, or preventing a nestmate from entry, which is lower than reported in previous studies. By analyzing CHCs, we found that CHC profile of returning foragers correlates with acceptance or rejection by guarding bees. Although several CHC were identified as potential recognition cues, only a subset of 4 differed consistently for their relative amount between accepted and rejected individuals in the 3 studied colonies. These include a unique group of 2 positional alkene isomers (Z-8 and Z-10), which are almost exclusively produced by the bees Bombus and Apis spp, and may be candidate compounds for further study.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Chemical Senses
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
ISSN: 0379-864X
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: SJ Martin
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2015 13:27
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 17:22

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