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

Johan Billen, Lore Vander Plancken


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.


Legs, exocrine glands, morphology, Meliponini

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v61i4.386-392


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