The Eastern honey bee, [Apis cerana (F.)], is an important and common pollinator for an important biodiesel tree, [Jatropha curcas (L.)]. To understand sensitivity of A. cerana to different floral compounds, we quantified volatile floral compounds of J. curcas, then determined electroantennogram (EAG) responses of A. cerana to 11 compounds each at five doses (0.4, 4, 40, 400, and 4,000 µg) of six most active floral compounds. Our results demonstrated that floral compounds of J. curcas differ in variety and quantity while linalool is always a major constituent in floral blends from three different plantations. Antennae of A. cerana responded to all 11 floral compounds, implying a broad sensitivity of A. cerana to different floral compounds of J. curcas. Antennae of A. cerana were most sensitive to six compounds, including all aldehydes (decanal, hexanal, nonanal, and octanal), linalool, and an alcohol (3-hexenol), suggesting that A. cerana possesses chemoreceptors to aldehydes, linalool, and alcohol on the antenna. Furthermore, low doses elicited a zero EAG response and high doses a positive one under all of six most active compounds. Thus, EAG responses of A. cerana were both chemical specific and dose-dependent. Our results here suggest that A. cerana is senstive to various floral compounds, and linalool in the floral blends of J. curcas plays a key role to attract A. cerana.
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Vol. 106 • No. 4