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Open access

Krystyna Czekońska, Bożena Chuda-Mickiewicz and Paweł Chorbiński

Summary

A comparison was done of the volume of semen and viability of spermatozoa collected from drones at ages 15, 20, 25 and 30 days. The drones originated from different queens and were reared in different environments. Semen volume was determined by measuring the filled length of a capillary. Percentages of live and dead spermatozoa were determined by SYBR-14/propidium iodide fluorescence staining and flow cytometry. The volume of semen collected from drones ranged from 0.5 to 1.3 μL. The mean volume of semen significantly decreased with drone age. Sperm viability increased significantly with drone age.

Open access

Krystyna Czekońska and Bożena Chuda-Mickiewicz

Abstract

The effectiveness of two methods of collecting semen from honeybee Apis mellifera drones was compared, and the reasons for problems with ejaculating semen were analysed. Among 275 drones, 100 were stimulated to release semen using a manual method, 100 with the use of chloroform, and from 75 drones the reproductive organs were dissected for analysis and evaluation. It was found that the principal causes of problems that drones had with ejaculating their semen were anatomical changes or a delay in the development of the mucus glands. It was also found that the method employing chloroform was less efficient in the first phase of eversion of the endophallus, compared with the manual method. The method with the use of chloroform allows the determination of the proportion of drones, which do not evert the endophallus because of poor or delayed development of mucus glands, as well as the proportion of drones which evert the organ, but do not ejaculate semen because of the absence of semen in the seminal vesicles.

Open access

Hajnalka Szentgyörgyi, Krystyna Czekońska and Adam Tofilski

Summary

Starvation during larval development has a negative effect on adult worker honey bees (Apis mellifera L.), but much less is known about the quality of drones starved during their development. We verified how starvation on the second day (early starvation) or the sixth day (late starvation) of larval development affects body mass, ejaculated semen volume and forewing size, shape, size asymmetry and shape asymmetry in drones after emergence. The larvae were starved for ten hours by being separated from nursing bees with a wire mash for 10 hours either early or late during larval development. Drones starved both early and late were smaller (254.1 ± 1.97 mg and 239.4 ± 2.12 mg, respectively) than the control regularly fed individuals (260.9 ± 2.01 mg), and their wing size changed as well (control: 889.76 ± 1.06; early: 880.9 ± 1.17; late: 868.05 ± 1.48). Starvation at a later phase of larval development caused more pronounced effects than at an earlier phase. On the other hand, ejaculated semen volume (control: 0.7 ± 0.043 μl; early: 0.88 ± 0.040 μl; late: 1.08 ± 0.031 μl), wing size asymmetry (control: 0.49 ± 0.025; early: 0.51 ± 0.026; late: 0.52 ± 0.03) and wing shape asymmetry (control: 17.4 ± 0.47 x 10-3; early: 16.9 ± 0.41 x 10-3; late: 17.6 ± 0.43 x 10-3) were not affected by starvation. This suggests that drones attempt to preserve characters which are important for their future reproduction.