Compounds extracted from heads of African stingless bees (Hypotrigona species) as a prospective taxonomic tool
- 96 Downloads
Stingless bees are important pollinators of plants, and also producers of honey. Species within the African stingless bee genus Hypotrigona are difficult to differentiate due to morphological similarities. Chemical profiles of whole head extracts from workers of three Hypotrigona species: H. gribodoi, H. araujoi and H. ruspolii were studied by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. A total of 50 components belonging to six chemical classes: hydrocarbons, aldehydes, alcohols, terpenoids, steroids and fatty acids were identified. Twenty-nine compounds were found in H. araujoi, 26 in H. gribodoi and 33 in H. ruspolii head extracts. Hydrocarbons, alcohols and fatty acids were the major classes, whilst steroids and terpenoids were minor. Aldehydes were found only in H. ruspolii while terpenoids were only present in extracts of H. gribodoi and H. araujoi. Eight chemical compounds were specific to H. araujoi, six to H. gribodoi and nine to H. ruspolii, showing both qualitative and quantitative differences. Workers were successfully grouped into their respective species using their chemical profiles. This study shows that head extracts can be used as a reliable taxonomic tool for identifying and differentiating Hypotrigona species.
KeywordsSpeciation Head secretions Hypotrigona species Chemical profile
The authors would like to thank members of Bee Health and Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics (MBBU) teams at ICIPE for their technical support. We acknowledge the financial support for this research by the following organizations and agencies: the European Union (EU) (Grant Contract No. DCI-FOOD/2013/313-659: African Reference Laboratory (with satellite stations) for the Management of Pollination Bee Diseases and Pests for Food Security); the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) Research Career Advancement Fellowship (Grant no: 91419) to AAY; NRF Incentive Funding for Rated Researchers to CWWP and AAY; UK Aid from the UK Government; Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida); the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Kenyan Government. The first author was supported by a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) In-Region Postgraduate Scholarship.
- Eardley CD (2004) Taxonomic revision of the African stingless bees (Apoidea: Apidae: Apinae: Meliponini). Afri Plant Prot 10:63–96Google Scholar
- Free JBJ (1987) Pheromones of social bees. Chapman and Hall, London, p 154Google Scholar
- Gracioli-Vitti LF, Cruz-landim C, Abdalla F (2012) Volatile substances of mandibular gland secretion of a stingless bee: Scaptotrigona postica Latreille. Anim Biol 3:78–88Google Scholar
- Kiatoko N, Kumar RS, Langevelde F (2016) A vertical compartmented hive design for reducing post-harvest colony losses in three afrotropical stingless bee species (APIDAE: MELIPONINAE). IJDR 6:9026–9034Google Scholar
- Le Conte Y, Hefetz A (2008) Primer pheromones in social hymenoptera. Annu Rev Entomol 53:523–542. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ento.52.110405.091434 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Michener CD (1959) Sibling species of Trigona from Angola (Hymenoptera, Apinae). Am Mus Novit 1956:1–5Google Scholar
- Michener C (2007) The bees of the world, 2nd edn. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, p 803Google Scholar
- Moure JS (1961) A preliminary supra-specific classification of the old world meliponine bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea). Studia Ent 4:181–242Google Scholar
- Schorkopf D, Hrncir M, Mateus S et al (2009) Mandibular gland secretions of meliponine worker bees: further evidence for their role in interspecific and intraspecific defence and aggression and against their role in food source signalling. J Exp Biol 212:1153–1162. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.021113 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar