The Science of Nature

, 104:69 | Cite as

Male scent-marking pheromone of Bombus ardens ardens (Hymenoptera; Apidae) attracts both conspecific queens and males

Short Communication


To explore the role of the volatiles emitted from male labial gland (LG) of the bumblebee Bombus ardens ardens, we investigated the responses of virgin queens and males to volatiles using a gas chromatography–electroantennographic detector (GC–EAD) system and Y-tube olfactometer. GC–EAD analysis revealed that citronellol, the main compound detected in the male LG, caused clear electrophysiological responses in the antennae of B. a. ardens virgin queens and males although two minor compounds elicited antennal responses when applied in a high concentration. Behavioral tests using a Y-tube olfactometer showed that queens and males were significantly attracted to both LG extracts and citronellol more than to the solvent alone. This is the first study to demonstrate that citronellol as a major compound of male scent-marking pheromone in B. a. ardens functions as a sex attractant for queens. The results also suggest that this compound has another function as a trail marker used by males.


Bumblebee Hymenoptera Mating behavior Olfactory cue Sex pheromone 



This work was partially supported by the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) of JSPS (17380038) to M. O., the Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (26850219) to K.H., and the Strategic Research Center Establishment Program (S0901017) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Honeybee Science Research CenterTamagawa UniversityMachidaJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Applied Entomology and Zoology, Graduate School of AgricultureTamagawa UniversityMachidaJapan

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