Free access
Volume 38, Number 1, January-February 2007
Page(s) 110 - 121
Published online 15 December 2006
Apidologie 38 (2007) 110-121
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2006051

Botanical sources and sugar concentration of the nectar collected by two stingless bee species in a tropical African rain forest

Robert Kajobe a, b

a  Faculty of Biology, Department of Behavioural Biology, Tropical Bee Research Unit, PO Box 80.086, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands
b  Permanent Address: Department of Forest Biology and Ecosystems Management, Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation, Makerere University, PO Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda

(Received 3 January 2005 - Revised 15 October 2005 - Accepted 10 August 2006 - Published online 15 December 2006)

Abstract - Nectar foraging by species of two stingless bees was studied in an African tropical rain forest. Both species Hypotrigona gribodoi (2-3 mm) and Meliponula ferruginea (6 mm) collected nectar with a wide range of sugar concentration (H. gribodoi: 14.2-67.4%; M. ferruginea: 9.1-63.4%). H. gribodoi collected nectar of higher sugar concentration than M. ferruginea. Factors that influenced sugar concentration of collected nectar included botanic origin of the nectar, bee species, bee colonies, month of year, time of day and the local environment. Sugar concentration increased gradually from 0700 h to a peak at 1300 h and declined thereafter. H. gribodoi collected nectar from more diverse plant species than M. ferruginea. Sugar concentration for both bee species was higher during the dry season than the rainy season. Although the above factors may explain part of the variation in the sugar concentration of nectar, additional explanations lie in the behavioural differences among the bee species.

Key words: nectar concentration / nectar sources / Calliandra calothyrsus / foraging behaviour / Budongo Forest Reserve

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© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2007