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Queen pheromones of stingless bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponini)

Grant number: 11/22991-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2012
Effective date (End): October 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Norberto Peporine Lopes
Grantee:Túlio Marcos Nunes
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto (FCFRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):13/09263-4 - The evolution of queen pheromones in stingless bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponini), BE.EP.PD


There was an initial struggle to understand the presence of a sterile caste in social insects on the light of natural selection. An altruistic behaviour can became evolutionarily stable if the obtained indirect fitness overcomes the losses with direct reproduction. In this model, workers of social hymenopterans are favoured by queens' fertility if she produces females, but there are reproductive conflicts over male production. The regulation of colony reproduction may happen through honest signals which indicate the presence of a fertile queen in the colony. Recently it has been showed the direct relationship between queens' cuticle hydrocarbons and workers ovary inhibition in ants and stingless bees. Stingless bees are an excellent group in the study of reproductive regulation due to their huge variety on social-evolutionary strategies. Nowadays, an increasing number of studies concerning the chemical ecology of social insects are found, although the commonly used techniques show some limitation namely the identification of high molecular weight compounds as well as their distribution along the insects' body. The use of mass spectrometry techniques through ionization by MALDI in two dimensions is one great modern chemical challenge. Its application for many groups of stingless bees concerning their differences in social regulation would bring scientific and technical advances in understanding the evolution of social regulation not just for stingless bees but for all social insects, besides providing basic resources to the development of image generation of micro molecules.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
VON ZUBEN, L. G.; SCHORKOPF, D. L. P.; ELIAS, L. G.; VAZ, A. L. L.; FAVARIS, A. P.; CLOSOSKI, G. C.; BENTO, J. M. S.; NUNES, T. M.. Interspecific chemical communication in raids of the robber bee Lestrimelitta limao. Insectes Sociaux, v. 63, n. 2, p. 339-347, . (10/10027-5, 13/04766-8, 13/01918-1, 10/04704-4, 11/22991-3)
NUNES, TULIO M.; MATEUS, SIDNEI; FAVARIS, ARODI P.; AMARAL, MONICA F. Z. J.; VON ZUBEN, LUCAS G.; CLOSOSKI, GIULIANO C.; BENTO, JOSE M. S.; OLDROYD, BENJAMIN P.; SILVA, RICARDO; ZUCCHI, RONALDO; et al. Queen signals in a stingless bee: suppression of worker ovary activation and spatial distribution of active compounds. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, v. 4, . (09/54098-6, 14/20302-4, 12/18031-7, 11/22991-3, 14/01884-2)
NUNES, T. M.; VON ZUBEN, L. G.; COSTA, L.; VENTURIERI, G. C.. Defensive repertoire of the stingless bee Melipona flavolineata Friese (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Sociobiology, v. 61, n. 4, p. 541-546, . (11/22991-3)

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