Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 186, Issue 11, pp 1089–1094

The critical period for caste determination in Bombus terrestris and its juvenile hormone correlates

  • Jonathan Cnaani
  • Gene E. Robinson
  • Abraham Hefetz
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s003590000163

Cite this article as:
Cnaani, J., Robinson, G. & Hefetz, A. J Comp Physiol A (2000) 186: 1089. doi:10.1007/s003590000163

Abstract.

The critical period for caste determination and its juvenile hormone (JH III) correlates were studied in Bombus terrestris. Larvae of known age and instar were taken from young colonies, in which they would have been reared as workers, and placed into groups of queenless workers. Under these conditions the critical age for caste determination was 5 days, during the second instar. Endocrine correlates of caste determination were obtained by determining profiles of juvenile hormone titer and juvenile hormone biosynthesis, measured by chiral-specific radioimmunoassay and the in vitro radiochemical assay, respectively. By the middle of the second instar prospective queen larvae had significantly higher rates of juvenile hormone biosynthesis and juvenile hormone titer than prospective worker larvae. Based on the coincidence of timing of both the critical period and the appearance of caste-specific juvenile hormone titer, we suggest that juvenile hormone plays a role in the mechanisms that control caste determination in B. terrestris.

Bombus terrestris Critical period Caste determination JH Social insects

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Cnaani
    • 1
  • Gene E. Robinson
    • 2
  • Abraham Hefetz
    • 1
  1. 1.G.S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Department of Zoology, Tel Aviv University, 69978 Tel Aviv, Israel
  2. 2.Department of Entomology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
  3. 3.Present address: USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Bee Research Center, 2000 E. Allen Rd., Tucson, AZ 85719, USA, e-mail: jcnaani@tucson.ars.ag.gov, Tel.: +1-520-6706380 ext 237, Fax: +1-520-6706493