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Chemical Changes Associated with the Invasion of a Melipona scutellaris Colony by Melipona rufiventris Workers

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Wax constituents produced by worker bees and the chemistry of the nest batumen (mixture of wax, mud, and floral materials) in a Melipona scutellaris colony changed when it was invaded by Melipona rufiventris workers. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analyses showed that after invasion, the M. scutellaris workers of the invaded colony produced waxes with higher relative abundance of triacontanyl acetate and decreased the amounts of n-alkanes and n-9-alkenes. On the other hand, waxes from M. rufiventris workers displayed few changes. The change in the composition of the M. scutellaris waxes chemically differentiates that species from the M. rufiventris invader workers. Comparative analyses of batumens samples from pure and invaded colonies revealed greater amounts of terpenes and phenolic derivatives in the batumen from the invaded colony. This is the first report on the chemical characterization of batumens from stingless bees.

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We thank Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo for grants, which made the present contribution possible (Adriana Flach, Proc. no. 02/07029-0, and Adriana Pianaro, Proc. no. 03/09358-3). We also acknowledge Prof. Carol H. Collins (IQ/UNICAMP) for critically revising the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Anita J. Marsaioli.

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Pianaro, A., Flach, A., Patricio, E.F.L.R.A. et al. Chemical Changes Associated with the Invasion of a Melipona scutellaris Colony by Melipona rufiventris Workers. J Chem Ecol 33, 971–984 (2007).

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