Free access
Volume 37, Number 2, March-April 2006
Stingless bees: biology and management
Page(s) 207 - 221
Published online 22 June 2006
Apidologie 37 (2006) 207-221
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2006015

Numerical investment in sex and caste by stingless bees (Apidae: Meliponini): a comparative analysis

Pérsio de Souza Santos-Filhoa, Denise de Araujo Alvesa, André Eterovica, b, Vera Lucia Imperatriz-Fonsecaa, c and Astrid de Matos Peixoto Kleinerta

a  Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, 05508-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
b  Colégio Bandeirantes, São Paulo, Brazil
c  Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, 14090-901 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

(Received 2 October 2005 - revised 11 January 2006 - accepted 20 January 2006 - published online 22 June 2006)

Abstract - Sex and caste allocation by five stingless bee species was investigated. The study included species that build royal cells (RCP: Plebeia remota and Schwarziana quadripunctata) and species that do not (RCA: Melipona asilvai, M. bicolor and M. subnitida). Allocation to gynes, males and workers was assessed by linear regression slopes and simple ratios. RCP had higher allocation to males, and RCA had higher allocation to gynes and workers. In both groups, a negative correlation in males vs. workers suggested a prevalent opportunity cost, which may hinder colony growth and/or colony fission.

Key words: stingless bees / Meliponini / sex ratio / worker production / numerical allocation

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2006