On Intraoviductal Sperm Competition in the Honeybee (Apis mellifera)
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The authors investigated whether there is sperm competition in the honeybee queen's oviducts. 78 full-sister queens were artificially inseminated with equal volumes (0.75 mm3) of sperm. Each queen in the first group was inseminated with the sperm of one drone, in the second group with that of 6 brother drones, and in the third group with that of 6 unrelated drones. After 48 h the spermatozoa in the dissected spermathecae of the queens were counted. The three queen groups did not differ in the number of spermatozoa stored in their spermathecae. Although these results do not confirm a sperm-incapacitation process in the queen's oviducts, the mating behaviour of the genus <MI>Apis<D> as a whole argues for further investigation of the hypothesis.
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M.Woyciechowski, Bee Research Department, Agricultural University, Al. 29 Listopada 52, 31-425 Krakow, Poland.