Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 8, Issue 9, pp 1167–1181 | Cite as

Nerol: An alarm substance of the stingless bee,Trigona fulviventris (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

  • L. K. Johnson
  • D. F. Wiemer


Bees of the genusTrigona and subgenusTrigona possess volatile materials in their mandibular glands, used as alarm substances and as marking pheromones. Heads of workers ofTrigona fulviventris were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The two major volatile components were nerol (∼ 50%), and octyl caproate (∼ 20%). Relative to other substances tested at a Costa Rican nest, treatments containing 20 μg of nerol attractedT. fulviventris, depressed numbers of bees leaving the nest by about 50%, and elicited wing vibration and biting. The responses were similar to those obtained with the contents of one worker head. Attraction and biting were also seen in response to captures of colony members by assassin bugs (Apiomerus pictipes) outside a nest entrance; one bee responded in about 15% of the captures. This alarm behavior, although weak, is of interest since it was thought thatT. fulviventris was unusual for its subgenus in its lack of nest defense behaviors.

Key words

Alarm substance nest defense nerol mandibular gland Hymenoptera Apidae Meliponinae stingless bees Trigona fulviventris Apiomerus pictipes Hemiptera Reduviidae 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. K. Johnson
    • 1
  • D. F. Wiemer
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyThe University of IowaIowa City
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryThe University of IowaIowa City

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