The cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of honey bee workers develop via a socially-modulated innate process

Cassondra L. Vernier, Joshua J. Krupp, Katelyn Marcus, Abraham Hefetz, Joel D. Levine, Yehuda Ben-Shahar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Large social insect colonies exhibit a remarkable ability for recognizing group members via colony-specific cuticular pheromonal signatures. Previous work suggested that in some ant species, colony-specific pheromonal profiles are generated through a mechanism involving the transfer and homogenization of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) across members of the colony. However, how colony-specific chemical profiles are generated in other social insect clades remains mostly unknown. Here we show that in the honey bee (Apis mellifera), the colony-specific CHC profile completes its maturation in foragers via a sequence of stereotypic age-dependent quantitative and qualitative chemical transitions, which are driven by environmentally-sensitive intrinsic biosynthetic pathways. Therefore, the CHC profiles of individual honey bees are not likely produced through homogenization and transfer mechanisms, but instead mature in association with age-dependent division of labor. Furthermore, non-nestmate rejection behaviors seem to be contextually restricted to behavioral interactions between entering foragers and guards at the hive entrance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere41855
JournaleLife
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - 5 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • Apis melifera
  • ecology
  • honey bee
  • social insects

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of honey bee workers develop via a socially-modulated innate process'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this