Free access
Volume 30, Number 4, 1999
Page(s) 293 - 298
Apidologie 30 (1999) 293-298
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19990405

Nestmate discrimination in the African stingless bee Hypotrigona gribodoi Magretti (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

Wolfgang H. Kirchner and Richard Friebe

Universität Konstanz, Fakultät für Biologie, 78457 Konstanz, Germany

Abstract - Sociobiological studies of the highly eusocial stingless bees (Meliponinae) have been almost exclusively restricted to neotropical species. Very little is known about the behaviour of Old World meliponines. Here, we studied nestmate discrimination in the African stingless bee Hypotrigona gribodoi Magretti. Interactions between single individuals were observed in arena experiments. It is shown that these bees can discriminate nestmates from non-nestmates. We also studied the behaviour of workers at the nest entrance. Colonies were replaced by other colonies while foragers were outside the nest. Returning foragers entering the entrance tube of the non-nestmates' nest were frequently observed to immediately leave the nest again. Individually marked non-nestmates, on the other hand, which were experimentally introduced directly into the nest, survived and were neither attacked nor driven out of the colony. © Inra/DIB/AGIB/Elsevier, Paris

Key words: stingless bees / Meliponinae / Hypotrigona / nestmate discrimination / kin recognition / sociobiology