Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday quiz, Britain's royal wedding, & royal jelly secret revealed!

They have now discovered what is the key component
of royal jelly, which turns bee larvae into queens.

photo by Wausberg

Aside from countless hours at a finishing school, that is.

Its discoverer, Masaki Kamakura, dubbed the protein royalactin.

photo by the folks at blueberry forest toys

Royalactin sounds like what I did as a child when I'd dress up like a princess and parade around the house with my super cool princess hat. Which, unlike the lovely ones above, was made out of 8 1/2 x 11 inch lined paper, staples, and determination.

Apparently, I was to going to look like a princess and wear that amazing hat, no matter what.


ANYhow, it's 1) exciting that they figured this out (the ingredient that makes baby bees queens), 2) kinda surprising to me they'd not figured this out yet. Is it just me? Did folks just not look into it, or was it a really tough problem?

Anyone know?

photo info here (it's kinda complicated)

Anyhow, I thought what with all the Royal Wedding fervor, this was the week to post this. And, well, I just learned it this a.m. =)

So, now for the RANDOM QUIZ!

We all know that royal jelly makes the queen, a different caste than the worker bees, in this eusocial species.

FYI, eusocial, per E.O. Wilson in Sociobiology (1975) via this site, has three defining characteristics: 

"(1) individuals of the same species cooperate in caring for the young; (2) there is a reproductive division of labor, with more or less sterile individuals working on behalf of fecund nestmates; (3) and there is an overlap of at least two generations in life stages capable of contributing to colony labor, such that offspring assist parents during some period of their life."

Ants bb bonded with in Guatemala

Ants are a classic example of a eusocial species, as are bees.

WITHOUT LOOKING IT UP (including eusocial), can you name a mammalian species that is eusocial?


Good luck!


P.S. As usual, wild guesses are MOST welcome, and the prize is PRIDE in your smartiness, inventiveness, humor, bravery for posting a comment, and the knowledge that you've greatly amused the bb.

P.P.S. the answer will include a picture of this charming creature and a story about how a t-shirt choice confirmed my suspicions about a person...


  1. Homo sapiens. Also Canis lupus. But it looks like you're trolling for Felis leo...

  2. For some reason that I can't fathom, I think I might actually know the answer! Naked Mole Rats?

  3. OHHHH I KNOW, I KNOW!!!!!! The nekkid mole rat! I just saw a television special on them recently

  4. wolves if you consider socially-cued behavior as a form of sterility. and acorn woodpeckers which are not mammals but have bird harems.

  5. 'Penises with teeth' as they're affectionately known to researchers working on them, or - if you're feeling formal - the naked molerat.

  6. Yes, yes, yes to all the nekkid mole rat answers. DING! DING! DING! =) 100% correct, as you MIGHT have guessed since I DIDN'T post it until now. Will follow up with something, but as mentioned on twitter biobabbler strangely quiet today, so off I go. Nice work! xo

  7. oh gosh! I was just thinking about that shirt and how much I miss it!

  8. Hey, Seahare (Anita), so, that most-amazing-of-all t-shirts is gone? I even tried to find one via the interweb after this post but could not. That thing was GENIUS. Where did you get it? A museum store? xoxo


Cool people write inside rectangles....