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Comparison of Age-dependent Quantitative Changes in the Male Labial Gland Secretion of Bombus Terrestris and Bombus Lucorum

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Age-related changes of antennal-active components of male labial gland extracts were studied in two closely related bumblebee species, Bombus terrestris and B. lucorum. In B. terrestris, compounds eliciting electroantennogram (EAG) responses of virgin queens were ethyl dodecanoate, 2,3-dihydrofarnesal, 2,3-dihydrofarnesol, hexadecan-1-ol, octadeca-9,12,15-trien-1-ol, and geranylcitronellol. Compounds that elicited EAG responses from queens of B. lucorum were ethyl dodecanoate, ethyl tetradec-7-enoate, ethyl tetradec-9-enoate, ethyl hexadec-9-enoate, hexadecan-1-ol, hexadec-7-enal, octadeca-9,12-dien-1-ol, octadeca-9,12,15-trien-1-ol, and octadecan-1-ol. Quantities of these compounds in the labial glands changed significantly over the lifetime of the respective males of the two species. In both species, concentrations of the respective compounds reached their maximum within seven days after eclosion. Subsequently, a rapid decrease in the amount of EAG-active compounds occurred in B. terrestris, whereas in B. lucorum the amount of active compounds stayed approximately constant or decreased at a slow rate. Microscopy showed that in B. terrestris secretory cells of the labial glands undergo apoptosis from the fifth to the tenth day of life, whilst in B. lucorum labial gland cells remain unchanged throughout the life of the males.

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This work was financially supported by the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic (project No. 2B06007), by the Czech Science Foundation (project No. 203/09/1446), and by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (research project No. Z40550506). All are gratefully acknowledged. A.C. and F.V. thank Fonds dela recherche fondamentale et collective (project No. 2.4.564.06.F) for support. Authors are grateful to J. Pflegerová (Institute of Entomology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, České Budějovice) and to the staff of the Laboratory of Electron Microscopy (Faculty of Sciences, Charles University, Prague) for their kind help. The authors would also like to thank A. Nekolová and M. Kojecká for their careful technical assistance, J. Cvačka and J. Zichová for valuable advice on analytical matters, and M. Foley for language consulting and comments on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Irena Valterová.

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Žáček, P., Kalinová, B., Šobotník, J. et al. Comparison of Age-dependent Quantitative Changes in the Male Labial Gland Secretion of Bombus Terrestris and Bombus Lucorum . J Chem Ecol 35, 698–705 (2009).

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