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Volume 34, Number 5, September-October 2003
Page(s) 457 - 468
Apidologie 34 (2003) 457-468
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2003046

The effect of intrinsic and extrinsic factors on flower constancy in stingless bees

Ester Judith Slaa, Ayco J.M. Tack and Marinus Jan Sommeijer

Department of Behavioural Biology, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.086, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands
(Received 9 January 2003; revised 13 March 2003; accepted 24 March 2003)

To enhance our understanding of the variability of flower constancy, we studied the influence of foraging conditions on the level of individual constancy in two species of stingless bees, Trigona dorsalis and Oxytrigona mellicolor, using a dimorphic artificial flower patch with equal reward in both flower types. Flower constancy increased greatly when the flower types were more dissimilar, and then approached constancy levels found for European honey bees. Sugar concentration had little effect on flower constancy. The presence of nestmates enhanced flower constancy somewhat in O. mellicolor but not in T. dorsalis, probably because of species-specific differences in local enhancement. The individual variability within treatments could be explained partly by individual variation in foraging tempo, with faster foraging leading to higher flower constancy.

Key words: flower constancy / foraging conditions / stingless bee

Correspondence and reprints: Ester Judith Slaa

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2003