Anthophora Bees: Unusual Glycerides from Maternal Dufour's Glands Serve as Larval Food and Cell Lining

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Science  07 Mar 1980:
Vol. 207, Issue 4435, pp. 1095-1097
DOI: 10.1126/science.207.4435.1095


The Dufour's gland of Anthophora abrupta, a solitary bee, secretes a complex mixture of liquid triglycerides containing one long-chain and two shortchain fatty acids. This is applied inside the earthen brood cells and added to the provision, where it is converted, perhaps by enzymes from the bee's saliva or gut, to solid diglycerides that are later eaten by the bee larvae. This use of Dufour's gland secretion as food and its nutritive function are reminiscent of the royal jelly secreted by honey bees.

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