A scientific note on reproductive diapause in Melipona marginata
The reproductive diapause is the interruption of queen’s egg laying activity due to biotic and/or abiotic factors. In this study, we report that the Melipona marginata queens entered in reproductive diapause by the year of 2007 for colonies kept in Ribeirão Preto, southeast region of Brazil. In addition, we analyzed the queen’s chemical profile before and during the reproductive diapause by using a gas-chromatography and mass-spectrometry system. We observed that five out of six colonies entered the reproductive diapause, starting in May and ending in August. The chemical analysis showed that the cuticular hydrocarbons profile of queens did not change qualitatively during the diapause phase. Our observations revealed that even during the absence of posture, the queens are capable of signaling their presence in the nest, thus preventing the replacement by gynes.