Document Detail

Wax Lipids Signal Nest Identity in Bumblebee Colonies.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23288373     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
The signalling functions of cuticular lipids, particularly cuticular hydrocarbons, have gained considerable attention in social insect communication. Information transfer between individuals by means of these substances has been examined extensively. However, communication with cuticular lipids is not limited to inter-individual recognition. Cuticular compounds can also have a signalling function in the nest environment. Workers of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris leave cuticular lipid traces, so-called footprints, that mark their nest entrance. In addition, there is evidence that bumblebees sense nesting material to identify their colony. In this study, we examined the signalling potential of bumblebee wax, and tested if bumblebee workers are able to identify their colony with the help of wax scent. Chemical analyses of wax extracts using coupled gas chromatography-mass spectrometry showed that wax from colonies of the bumblebee B. terrestris contained a complex blend of cuticular lipids, dominated by hydrocarbons and wax esters. Comparing the relative compound amounts of wax samples from different colonies, we found that wax scent patterns varied with nest identity. Olfactometer bioassays showed that bumblebees were able to discriminate between wax scents from their own and a foreign colony. Our findings suggest that wax emits characteristic olfactory profiles that are used by workers to recognize their colony.
Ann-Marie Rottler; Stefan Schulz; Manfred Ayasse
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2013-1-4
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of chemical ecology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1573-1561     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Chem. Ecol.     Publication Date:  2013 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-1-4     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505563     Medline TA:  J Chem Ecol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Institute of Experimental Ecology, University of Ulm, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, 89069, Ulm, Germany.
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