Formic acid in caustic cephalic secretions of stingless bee, Oxytrigona (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

D. W. Roubik, Brian Smith, R. G. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


The cephalic extracts of two species in the stingless bee genus Oxytrigona were analyzed. Extracts made in diethyl ether, and then derivatized with diphenyldiazomethane, revealed large quantities of formic acid, potentially a major defensive secretion of this stingless bee group. We additionally identify several hydrocarbons, aldehydes, ketones, and acetates. Novel diketones identified by others were detected in both species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1079-1086
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1987
Externally publishedYes



  • Apidae
  • Defensive secretions
  • formic acid
  • Hymenoptera
  • mandibular glands
  • Meliponinae
  • Oxytrigona
  • stingless bees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this