Higher vitellogenin concentrations in honey bee workers may be an adaptation to life in temperate climates

Gro Amdam, K. Norberg, S. W. Omholt, P. Kryger, A. P. Lourenço, M. M G Bitondi, Z. L P Simões

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

The honey bee originated in tropical Africa and later dispersed to northern Europe. It has been suggested that a higher hemolymph storage capacity for the glycolipoprotein vitellogenin evolved in temperate regions, and that the trait constitutes an adaptation to a strongly seasonal environment. We have investigated whether the relative vitellogenin levels of European and African honey bees are in accordance with this hypothesis. Our data indicate that European workers have a higher set-point concentration for vitellogenin compared to their African origin. Considered together with available life history information and physiological data, the results lend support to the view that "winter bees", a long-lived honey bee worker caste that survives winter in temperate regions, evolved through an increase in the worker bees' capacity for vitellogenin accumulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-319
Number of pages4
JournalInsectes Sociaux
Volume52
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2005

Keywords

  • Climatic regions
  • Evolution
  • Honey bee workers
  • Longevity
  • Vitellogenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science

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