Revista Brasileira de Entomologia
Print version ISSN 0085-5626
FUJIHARA, Ricardo Toshio; CAMARGO, Roberto da Silva and FORTI, Luiz Carlos. Lipid and energy contents in the bodies of queens of Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae): pre-and post-nuptial flightConteúdo de lipídeos e energético das rainhas de Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae): pré e pós-vôo nupcial. Rev. Bras. entomol. [online]. 2012, vol.56, n.1, pp. 73-75. Epub Apr 05, 2012. ISSN 0085-5626. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0085-56262012005000015.
The nuptial flight allows males and females to meet and copulate and both need energy to perform this activity. Before leaving the nest, males and females are well nourished and ready to mate. However, little is known about the lipid and energy contents in females before the nuptial flight (virgins) and after it (mated females). In this work we measured lipid concentrations in relation to body weight in these individuals. Our results showed that 16.82% of the bodies of young virgin females one month before mating flight are composed of lipids, contrasting with the 32.62% lipid content in mated females who had not excavated their nest yet, and 32.88% in those who had. The energy content measured for virgin females was 2942.63 J, contrasting with 6110.01 J for queens before excavating the nest and 5677.51 J after excavation. Based on our results, we conclude that the body mass, and therefore the lipid and energy contents in the bodies of Atta sexdens rubropilosa queens double during the last month before the nuptial flight. This energy resource is fundamental to the activities required during the nuptial flight, digging the nest and the founding of the colony.
Keywords : Energy content; lipid content; nest founding; nuptial flight.