Wax gland size according to worker age in Friesella schrottkyi

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Lopes Justino, Cintia Eleonora [UNESP]
Noll, Fernando Barbosa [UNESP]
Mateus, Sidnei
Billen, Johan
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Wax production is one of the stingless bee activities that is related with nest building. We studied wax gland size in workers of the stingless bee Friesella schrottkyi at nine different ages: 0, 4, 5, 8, 10, 13, 14, 15, and 20 days. In the large majority of workers, we observed a conspicuous epithelium in abdominal tergites III, IV, and V. Our results clearly show a link between worker age and wax production in F. schrottkyi. The epithelial thickness reaches its maximum after 13 days, followed by a drastic decline in workers of 15 days old. We observed an unexpected pattern in a minority of workers, however, which showed a decline in epithelial thickness right after emergence. Even though temporal polyethism is well known in Meliponini, some individuals may not perform all the activities inside the colony; therefore, the workers with the unexpected pattern may correspond to those individuals.
stingless bees, wax gland, division of labor, nest building
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Apidologie. Paris: Springer France, v. 49, n. 3, p. 359-366, 2018.