Free access
Issue
Apidologie
Volume 39, Number 6, November-December 2008
Page(s) 618 - 626
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/apido:2008047
Published online 21 October 2008
Apidologie 39 (2008) 618-626
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2008047

Chemical analyses confirm a rare case of seed dispersal by bees

Cecilia Veronica Nunez1, Marcio Luiz de Oliveira2, Renata Duarte Lima1, Ingrit Elida Collantes Diaz3, Ézio Sargentini Jr.1, Orlando Libório Pereira Jr.1 and  Lidia Medina Araújo4

1  Coordenação de Pesquisas em Produtos Naturais, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia. Av. André Araújo 2936, Caixa postal 478, Petrópolis, AM, 69011-970, Manaus, Brazil
2  Coordenação de Pesquisas em Entomologia, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia. Av. André Araújo 2936, Caixa postal 478, Petrópolis, AM, 69011-970, Manaus, Brazil
3  Departamento de Química Fundamental, Instituto de Química, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
4  Central Analítica do Departamento de Química, Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Manaus, Brazil

Received 3 January 2008 – Revised 16 June 2008 – Accepted 23 June 2008 - Published online 21 October 2008

Abstract - It has been suggested that dispersal of seeds of Coussapoa asperifolia magnifolia could have endozoochoric dispersal by frugivorous birds and monkeys because the fruits are red when ripe, or exozoochoric dispersal, because the exocarp is mucilaginous and sticky. However, our field observations showed only stingless bees collecting the exocarp with seeds of C. asperifolia magnifolia, which are used for building and repairing their nests, from which the plants sprout. This paper aimed to determine the fruit chemical composition, since we postulated that C. asperifolia magnifolia is neither consumed by birds nor monkeys due to being very sticky and apparently resinous. Apolar extract analyses revealed the fruits are not resinous but extremely rich in waxes (mainly esterified triglycerides), and polar extract analyses revealed the sugar content to be close to the sensorial minimum level. This probably accounts for why only stingless bees are seen visiting fruits and dispersing seeds.


Key words: mellitochory / insect-plant interaction / stingless bees / Apidae / Coussapoa


© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2008