Antennal glands in queen and worker of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren: first report in female social Aculeata (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)
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The antennae of the higher Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps) have been presumed to be exclusively sensory appendages, although the antennae of a number of the Parasitica also support a variety of glands. Using both SEM and TEM we show the presence of ectodermal glands in the antennae of workers and queens, but not in the males, of the Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. These glands and their associated pores are present on a glabrous proximal region of A9 of the antennae of workers and both A9 and A10 of queens. The pores leading to the bicellular secretory units in the antennae are more numerous on A10 of the queen followed by A9 of workers and in both cases they form a uniform ring around the segment. However, the pores on A9 of the queen are more numerous on the dorsal surface. While a paste-like secretion can sometimes be seen emerging from the pores of workers, this material is commonly seen from the pores of queen antennae. In social Aculeata, antennal glands have previously been found only in males of some vespids. This report, the first for ants and the first for females of social Aculeata, gives evidence for antennal glands in S. invicta.
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