Definition of trophallaxis in English:



  • The mutual exchange of regurgitated liquids between adult social insects or between them and their larvae.

    ‘Direct interactions are the ‘obvious’ interactions: antennation, trophallaxis (food or liquid exchange), mandibular contact, visual contact, chemical contact (the odor of nearby nestmates), etc.’
    • ‘Second, we quantified the rate of trophallaxis, that is, oral exchange of liquid food between individuals.’
    • ‘Typical nest behaviors, such as aggression and trophallaxis, were not observed among aggregating wasps.’
    • ‘The worker was performing trophallaxis with the queen who had her tongue extended through a slit or small hole in the queen cell.’
    • ‘Its expression in salivary glands suggests it can be passed among nestmates by trophallaxis or spread on the insect cuticle during grooming.’



/ˌträfəˈlaksəs/ /ˌtrɑfəˈlæksəs/


Early 20th century from tropho-‘nourishment’ + Greek allaxis ‘exchange’.