Exocrine glands in the legs of the stingless bee Frieseomelitta varia (Lepeletier) (Apidae: Meliponini)


  • Johan Billen University of Leuven
  • Lore Vander Plancken University of Leuven




Legs, exocrine glands, morphology, Meliponini


Social insects are known for their overwhelming diversity of exocrine glands. This study examines the glands in the legs of workers of Frieseomelitta varia (Lepeletier). A variety of 15 glands was found, with glands occurring in every leg segment, whereas previous studies only described 5 glands in stingless bee legs. Six glands are novel exocrine structures for social insects. Glands occurring in the articulation region between adjacent leg segments may occur in a repetitive pattern, and probably have a lubricant function. For most glands, however, the function is not yet known, and will require further experimental work.


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How to Cite

Billen, J., & Plancken, L. V. (2014). Exocrine glands in the legs of the stingless bee Frieseomelitta varia (Lepeletier) (Apidae: Meliponini). Sociobiology, 61(4), 386–392. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v61i4.386-392



Research Article - Bees