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Volume 31, Number 3, May-june 2000
Page(s) 411 - 419
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2000131

Apidologie 31 (2000) 411-419

Cell provisioning and oviposition in Melipona beecheii (Apidae, Meliponinae),with a note on caste determination

Johan Wilhelm van Veen

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 19 January 1999; revised 27 August 1999; accepted 15 November 1999)


We examined the food provisioning and oviposition process (POP) for worker- and gyne-producing cells of Melipona beecheii. POPs for both castes did not differ significantly in duration and number of trophic eggs oviposited by workers in the cells. The frequency of food discharges by workers in gyne-producing cells was significantly less than in worker-producing cells. This result is discussed in relation with caste determination. Seventy percent of all POPs took place at night. We hypothesized that foraging activities during the daytime reduced the number of workers available in the nest for provision of food to workers that participated in the POPs. It was found that the number of trophic eggs laid by workers during a POP was positively correlated to the preceding extra-oviposition period.

Keywords: stingless bee / caste / trophic worker egg / Melipona beecheii

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

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