Relation between size and foraging range in stingless bees (Apidae, Meliponinae)M.G.L. van Nieuwstadta and C.E. Ruano Irahetab
a Proyecto Regional de Apicultura y Meliponicultura, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, Apdo Postal 475-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica
b Facultad de Ciencias Agronomicas, Universidad de El Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador
Abstract - We estimated the maximum foraging distances of four species of neotropical stingless bees using two experimental methods. In the first experiment marked bees, which were released at different distances from the nest, were recaptured. The second method consisted of training bees on an artificial nectar source which was subsequently moved away from the nest till visitation ceased. In both experiments we found a positive linear relationship between the head width of the different species and their foraging range. However, the maximum foraging distances estimated by the capture-recapture experiment were about 300 m greater than those estimated by training the bees at an artificial source. It is concluded that the distance delimiting the area in which 95% of the foraging activity occurs lies in between the distances indicated by these two methods.
Key words: Apidae / Meliponinae / stingless bee / flight distance / body size