Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 371–386 | Cite as

Intranidal worker reactions to volatile compounds identified from cephalic secretions in the stingless bee,Scaptotrigona postica (Hymenoptera, Meliponinae)

  • Elisabeth Engels
  • Wolf Engels
  • Wolfgang Schröder
  • Wittko Francke


From pentane extracts of worker heads of the stingless bee (Scaptotrigona postica), 70 volatile compounds were identified by combined gas chromatographic-mass spectroscopic analyses. A bioassay was developed to evaluate intranidal reactions of workers to synthetic volatiles. Thirty-six of the cephalic volatiles were tested. Thirteen types of behavioral reactions were recorded in a semiquantitative manner. The test was run in the brood nest where mainly young nurse bees are present and also in the storage area of the nest with old foragers traffic. The results obtained were compared and discussed in order to understand the chemical communication system of this species. Especially in the dark interior of the nest, which in nature is found in hollow tree cavities, chemical messages obviously play a particularly important role in the communication systems of the bees.

Key words

Cephalic volatiles stingless bee workers intranidal reactions Scaptotrigona postica Meliponinae Apidae Hymenoptera 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabeth Engels
    • 1
    • 3
  • Wolf Engels
    • 1
    • 3
  • Wolfgang Schröder
    • 2
  • Wittko Francke
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Biologie III Zoologie/EntwicklungsphysiologieUniversität TübingenTübingen
  2. 2.Institut für Organische Chemie und BiochemieUniversität HamburgHamburg 13
  3. 3.Departamento de GenéticaUniversidade de São PaulaRibeirão Preto-S.P.Brazil

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