(S)-2-Heptanol, the alarm pheromone of the stingless bee Melipona solani (Hymenoptera, Meliponini)
- 9 Downloads
Timely defence response is critical in any highly social bee species. Chemical signalling is closely linked to this behaviour, and several pheromones have been discovered. In this work, we identified the pheromone of the stingless bee Melipona solani and evaluated the electrophysiological and behavioural response of the bee to the identified compound. We determined that the mandibular glands serve as the reservoir of the alarm pheromone. Because enantiomeric recognition has been scarcely examined, we performed bioassays and electroantennographic (EAG) studies to determine the role of chirality in pheromone recognition. We found that (S)-2-heptanol was the active compound involved in the alarm response of this species. Although we did not find (R)-2-heptanol in the mandibular gland extracts, bees responded to it in a similar way to the (S)-isomer and to a racemic mixture. The behavioural response of M. solani was flight, different from other Melipona species behaviour. We discuss these findings in an evolutionary and ecological framework.
KeywordsAlarm pheromone Defence Stingless bees Optical isomerism CG-MS EAG
We thank Rodrigo López and Bryan Gómez for assistance in the bioassays work.
Thanks are given to the National Council of Science and Technology CONACYT for scholarship to D. A. R. (CV/grant number 387462/255265). This study was supported by CONACYT INFR-2014-01(224846).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Amano K, Nemoto T, Heard T (2000) What are stingless bees and why and how to use in crop pollination? A review. Jpn. Agric. Res. Q. 34:183–190.Google Scholar
- Ascher J, Pickering J (2017) Discover life: bee species guide and world checklist (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila). http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?guide=Apoidea_species&flags=HAS. Accessed 17 Jul 2017
- Ayala R, Gonzalez V, Engel M (2013) Mexican stingless bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae): diversity, distribution, and indigenous knowledge. In: Vit P, Pedro S, Roubik D (eds) Pot-Honey. A legacy of stingless bees, 1st edn. Springer, New York, pp 135–152Google Scholar
- Breed M, Guzmán-Novoa E, Hunt G (2004) Defensive behavior of honey bees: organization, genetics, and comparisons with other bees. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 49:271–298. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ento.49.061802.123155 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gracioli-Vitti L, Abdalla F, Silva R, Jones G (2004) The chemical composition of the mandibular gland secretion of Melipona bicolor Lepeletier, 1836 (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponini): a comparative study among castes and sexes. J. Braz. Chem. Soc. 15:777–781. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0103-50532004000500027. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Malo E, Castrejón-Gómez V, Cruz-López L, Rojas JC (2004) Antennal sensilla and electrophysiological response of male and female Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) to conspecific sex pheromone and plant odors. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 97:1273–1284. https://doi.org/10.1603/0013-8746(2004)097[1273:ASAERO]2.0.CO;2Google Scholar
- Michener C (2007) The bees of the world, 2nd edn. The Johns Hoptkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
- Mori K (1998) Chirality and insect pheromones. Chirality 10:578–586. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1520-636X(1998)10:7<578::AID-CHIR5>3.0.CO;2-Z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- R Core Team (2016) R: A language and environment for statistical computingGoogle Scholar
- Rochat D, Ramirez-Lucas P, Malosse C, et al (2000) Role of solid-phase microextraction in the identification of highly volatile pheromones of two Rhinoceros beetles Scapanes australis and Strategus aloeus (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae, Dynastinae). J. Chromatogr. A 885:433–444. https://doi.org/10.1039/c1cc00005e CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Schorkopf D, Hrncir M, Mateus S, et al (2009) Mandibular gland secretions of meliponine worker bees: further evidence for their role in interspecific and intraspecific defence and aggression and against their role in food source signalling. J. Exp. Biol. 212:1153–1162. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.021113 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wyatt T (2003a) Pheromones and animal behaviour: communications by smell and taste, First. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar