Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 335–338 | Cite as

Role of juvenile hormone biosynthesis in dominance status and reproduction of the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris

  • Myriam Larrere
  • Franck Couillaud


In Bombus terrestris females, dominant status is correlated with high levels of juvenile hormone (JH) biosynthesis and rapid oöcyte maturation. Queenright workers, which are inhibited by the dominant queen, complete the cycle of oöcyte maturation while exhibiting a continuous low rate of JH production, but their egglaying is inhibited. Measurements in foundress queens suggest that the low JH titer during oögenesis is probably not responsible for the inhibition of egg-laying. Queenless workers, kept individually, are not activated either for JH production or oöcyte maturation. In groups of three queenless workers, a dominance order becomes established and high rates of JH synthesis are observed in the dominant egg-laying workers, with low rates in subordinated workers. In groups of founder queens, also, a dominance order becomes established and results in a reduced rate of JH production in subordinated females.

Key words

Social insects Bumblebee Juvenile hormone Reproduction Dominance 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myriam Larrere
    • 1
  • Franck Couillaud
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de NeuroendocrinologieUniversité de Bordeaux 1Talence CedexFrance

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