Free access
Volume 31, Number 1, January-Febuary 2000
Page(s) 47 - 54
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2000105

Apidologie 31 (2000) 47-54

Observations on gynes and drones around nuptial flights in the stingless bees Tetragonisca angustula and Melipona beecheii (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponinae)

Johan Wilhelm van Veen, Marinus Jan Sommeijer

Department of Social Insects, Ethology and Socio-ecology, Laboratory of Comparative Physiology, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80.086, NL-3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands

(Received 29 January 1999; accepted 5 September 1999)


The nuptial flight of gynes of Tetragonisca angustula and Melipona beecheii was studied. The moment of nuptial flight was found to be related to the ambient temperature, and the duration of the nuptial flight for M. beecheii was longer in November (rainy season) than in March (dry season). A repeated mating flight was recorded for two gynes of T. angustula. Three of five T. angustula queens and all six M. beecheii queens were mated successfully. Behavioural data of drones and gynes shortly before and after the nuptial flight are presented. Drones of T. angustula participated in a congregation for up to three days. The importance of pheromones for the attraction of drones and gynes is discussed. An hypothesis explaining the observed seasonal occurrence of male congregations near nests of T. angustula is presented.

mating / drone congregation / Melipona beecheii / Tetragonisca angustula / stingless bees

Correspondence and reprints: Johan Wilhelm van Veen
Present address: P.O. Box 475-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica

Copyright INRA/DIB/AGIB/EDP Sciences