Cuticular Hydrocarbons Discriminate Distinct Colonies of Melipona marginata (Hymenoptera, Apinae, Meliponini)

Maria Juliana Ferreira-Caliman, Fábio Santos do Nascimento


The aim of the present study was to characterize the variation of the chemical profiles among workers in different colonies of the stingless bee Melipona marginata. We used gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (CG-MS) and multivariate analysis of the bees’ chemical from three colonies of two localities in southeast Brazil. The results showed that cuticular hydrocarbon profiles clearly separated distinct colonies. We show here the importance of using the chemical analyses for characterization of colony membership, in addition of the traditional techniques of diversity analyses.


stingless bees; cuticular hydrocarbons; colonial signature; gas chromatography-mass spectrometry

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