Sperm utilization pattern in the honeybee (Apis mellifera)

Schlüns, Helge, Koeniger, Gudrun, Koeniger, Nikolaus, and Moritz, Robin FA (2004) Sperm utilization pattern in the honeybee (Apis mellifera). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 56 (5). pp. 458-463.

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Queen honeybees (Apis mellifera) mate with a large number of drones on their nuptial flights. Not all drones contribute equally to the queen’s offspring and the queen’s utilization pattern of spermatozoa from different drones has an important impact on the genetic composition of the colony. Here we study the consequences of sperm use for the fitness of the queen’s mates with microsatellite DNA-fingerprinting. Eight queens were instrumentally inseminated with semen of six or seven drones. Each drone contributed either 0.5 µl or 1.0 µl semen, respectively, and we analyzed both the impact of the insemination sequence and the amount of semen on the sperm utilization. Our data show no significant effect of the insemination sequence but a strong impact of the semen volume of a drone on the frequency of his worker offspring in the colony. This effect was not linear and the patriline frequencies of the drones contributing larger semen volumes are disproportionately enhanced. If these observations are also valid for natural matings, drone honeybees should maximize the number of sperm but not apply specific mating tactics to be first or last male in a mating sequence.

Item ID: 816
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0762
Keywords: Polyandry, Sperm utilization, Microsatellite DNA, Honeybee, Drone
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Copyright 2004 Springer The published version of this article can be accessed via Springer Link. Use hypertext links above.

Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2006
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060808 Invertebrate Biology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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