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Neotropical Entomology

versão impressa ISSN 1519-566Xversão On-line ISSN 1678-8052


ARRUDA, Valeska M. et al. Morphologic analysis of the venom gland of Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in populations of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Neotrop. Entomol. [online]. 2007, vol.36, n.2, pp.203-209. ISSN 1678-8052.

In Apis mellifera L. the venom gland (also called acid gland) is composed of secretory cells that surround a channel that opens into a reservoir devoid of musculature. This gland can present apical branching. In this study the frequency of branched venom glands in Africanized honeybee workers (A. mellifera) from eleven localities in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul was recorded. The relations among the length of the main duct, the length of the duct from the reservoir to the beginning of branching, the length of the branched segment (when present) and the total length of the gland were also analyzed. The frequency of branched glands varied from 50% to 83% in the workers, indicating that this characteristic is primitive in those bees. The results of the Analysis of Discriminant Functions indicated significant differences in the morphometrical segments of the venom gland (Wilk’s Lambda = 0.092; F (40, 55) = 3.43; P < 0.001), and permitted a differentiation of the populations studied. Using the Mantel test we verified that there does not exist a significant correlation between the morphologic characteristics and the geographical distance between the localities evaluated (Mantel r = -0.006, P = 0.48). The high frequency of workers with large venom gland in all the apiaries considered makes viable the development of a selection program in order to obtain bees with longer venom glands, aimed at the commercial production of venom by the beekeepers of those localities of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Palavras-chave : Honeybee; acid gland; morphometry.

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