Free access
Volume 40, Number 2, March-April 2009
Page(s) 106 - 116
Published online 03 February 2009
Apidologie 40 (2009) 106-116
DOI: 10.1051/apido/2008067

Evaluation of oligolecty in the Brazilian bee Ptilothrix plumata (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Emphorini)

Clemens Schlindwein1, Raquel Andréa Pick2 and Celso Feitosa Martins3

1  Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Departamento de Botânica - UFPE, Av. Prof. Moraes Rego, s/n, Cidade Universitária, 50670-901 Recife, PE, Brazil
2  Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Biológicas (Zoologia), Universidade Federal da Paraíba - UFPB, 58059-900 João Pessoa, PB, Brazil
3  Universidade Federal da Paraíba - UFPB, Departamento de Sistemática e Ecologia, 58059-900 João Pessoa, PB, Brazil

Received 9 May 2008 – Revised 27 August 2008 and 13 October 2008 – Accepted 14 October 2008 - Published online 3 February 2009

Abstract - Ptilothrix plumata is a solitary bee, oligolectic on Malvaceae. In this study we evaluate its oligoletic behavior through quantitative and qualitative analyses of larval provisioning in the National Park of Catimbau, Brazil. Quantitative pollen analysis showed that, to feed one larva, females collect pollen from an average of 17.2 flowers of Pavonia cancellata, 8.5 flowers of P. varians, 4.8 flowers of P. humifusa and 12.4 flowers of Sida galheirensis. Preference for pollen of Pavonia seems to be characteristic for the species and is even more accentuated when considering the volumes of the very large Pavonia pollen grains in the pollen mass: more than 90% of total pollen volume of larval food was from Pavonia species. Comparison to food preferences of P. plumata at other sites shows that the degree of specialization also depends on the composition of plant species at a given locality and a local seemingly monolectic relationship may result from missing opportunities for choice.

Key words: Ptilothrix plumata / pollen analysis / Malvaceae / oligolecty / larval diet / bee

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2009