Relationship between aging, mating and sperm production in captive Bombus terrestris
J -N Tasei; C Moinard; L Moreau; B Himpens; S Guyonnaud
Mating behaviour of Bombus terrestris, its sperm production and sperm transfer to queens were studied in parallel, under controlled conditions. The mean value of the age of mating was 6.1 days (s.e. = 0.4 days) for queens and 12.1 days (s.e. = 1.3 days) for males. The average sperm content of vasa deferentia ranged between 4000 and 230 000 spermatozoa per male. It increased from emergence up to the sixth day. The age at which males mated extended from the sixth day to day 27. Chances to cause queens to mate dropped dramatically after day 11. Spermatheca contents varied from 5800 to 36 200 spermatozoa after a single copulation with virgin males. The efficiency of mating in terms of sperm transfer to spermatheca was not affected by the age but was reduced by previous copulations of the male.