Changes in juvenile hormone biosynthetic rate and whole body content in maturing virgin queens of Solenopsis invicta. Academic Article uri icon


  • Studies were conducted on the physiological and hormonal changes following the release of alates from developmentally suppressive pheromones produced by mature queens of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren. Winged virgin queens were removed from the pheromonal signal and placed in colony fragments. The time for dealation, degree of ovarian development, and biosynthesis rate and whole body content of juvenile hormone (JH) were measured. The production rate and content of JH were highly correlated. Dealation and the initiation of oviposition corresponded to peak production of JH. JH production rose sharply following separation from the natal nest, peaking after 3 days. After 8 days of isolation, JH production gradually subsided to levels similar to that found in pre-release queens, but began to increase again after 12 days. Mature queens had highly elevated levels of JH relative to recently dealate females, probably reflecting the increased reproductive capability of these older females. The results support the hypothesis that the pheromone released by functional queens inhibits reproduction in virgin alates by suppressing corpora allata activity and the production of JH.

published proceedings

  • J Insect Physiol

author list (cited authors)

  • Brent, C. S., & Vargo, E. L.

citation count

  • 55

complete list of authors

  • Brent, Colin S||Vargo, Edward L

publication date

  • January 2003