Dufour's gland

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An abdominal gland found in the females of nearly all Apocrita. It empties at the base of the ovipositor or sting, and is thought in many groups to lubricate the valves of the ovipositor during egg-laying. In worker ants it secretes either alarm or trail-making pheromones. It is massively developed in most solitary mining bees, and produces secretions to make a waterproof, fungus-resistant lining for brood cells. In at least two bee families (Anthophoridae and Megachilidae) the Dufour's gland secretion is also a dietary supplement for the developing larva, and is added to the pollen and nectar stored by the female before egg-laying.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.

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