Dopamine regulates termite soldier differentiation through trophallactic behaviours
The reproductive roles of dopamine and dopamine regulation systems are known in social hymenopterans, but the knowledge on the regulation systems in solitary species is still needed. To test the possibility that juvenile hormone (JH) and brain dopamine interact to trigger territorial flight behavior in males of a solitary bee species, the effects on biogenic amines of JH analog treatments and behavioral assays with dopamine injections in males of the large carpenter bee Xylocopa appendiculata were quantified. Brain dopamine levels were significantly higher in methoprene-treated males than in control males 4 days after treatment, but were not significantly different after 7 days. Brain octopamine and serotonin levels did not differ between methoprene-treated and control males at 4 and 7 days after treatment. Injection of dopamine caused significantly higher locomotor activities and a shorter duration for flight initiation in experimental versus control males. These results suggest that brain dopamine can be regulated by JH and enhances flight activities in males. The JH–dopamine system in males of this solitary bee species is similar to that of males of the highly eusocial honeybee Apis mellifera.