Free access
Volume 39, Number 2, March-April 2008
Page(s) 260 - 272
Published online 11 April 2008
Apidologie 39 (2008) 260-272
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2008004

Food profitability affects intranidal recruitment behaviour in the stingless bee Nannotrigona testaceicornis

Veronika M. Schmidt1, Michael Hrncir2, Dirk Louis P. Schorkopf1, Sidnei Mateus2, Ronaldo Zucchi2 and Friedrich G. Barth1

1  Department of Neurobiology and Cognition Research, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria
2  Department of Biology, FFCLRP, University of São Paulo, Av. Bandeirantes 3900, Ribeirão Preto, SP, 14040-901, Brazil

(Received 10 September 2007 - Revised 3 November 2007 - Accepted 30 November 2007 - Published online 11 April 2008)

Abstract - Does the food's sugar concentration affect recruitment behaviour in the stingless bee Nannotrigona testaceicornis? We recorded intranidal forager behaviour while offering sugar water of constant, increasing, or decreasing concentrations. Running speed was not correlated with sugar concentration but the jostling contacts/sec were. Food profitability also affected the recruiter's thorax vibrations: Pulse duration and duty cycle followed both concentration increases and decreases. Sugar concentration also influenced the number of recruited bees. In comparison to the phylogenetically closely related Scaptotrigona, Nannotrigona's intranidal recruitment behaviour showed a more elaborate association with food profitability. This is likely to reflect differences in ecology and foraging strategies as Nannotrigona - in contrast to Scaptotrigona - does not lay scent trails to guide recruits to a food source.

Key words: stingless bees / communication / recruitment / foraging / thorax vibrations

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2008