Free access
Volume 40, Number 3, May-June 2009
Bee conservation
Page(s) 332 - 346
Published online 13 May 2009
Apidologie 40 (2009) 332-346
DOI: 10.1051/apido/2009012

Diversity, threats and conservation of native bees in the Neotropics

Breno M. Freitas1, Vera Lúcia Imperatriz-Fonseca2, Luis M. Medina3, Astrid de Matos Peixoto Kleinert2, Leonardo Galetto4, Guiomar Nates-Parra5 and J. Javier G. Quezada-Euán3

1  Universidade Federal do Ceará, Departamento de Zootecnia – CCA, Campus do Pici, CP 12168 Fortaleza, CE 60.021-970, Brazil
2  Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo 05508-900, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
3  Departamento de Apicultura, Campus de Ciencias Biológicas y Agropecuarias, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán. Apartado Postal 4-116 Mérida Yucatán CP 97100, Mexico
4  IMBIV (UNC - CONICET), Departamento de Diversidad Biologica y Ecologia, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Fisicas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, CC 495, 5000, Cordoba, Argentina
5  Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Bogotá, Bogotá, D.C., Colombia

Received 30 October 2008 – Revised 19 December 2008 – Accepted 30 January 2009 - Published online 13 May 2009

Abstract - The Neotropics bee fauna is very rich with 5000 recognised species, including 33 genera (391 species) of Meliponini, but it is estimated to be at least three fold greater in species richness. Deforestation, agriculture intensification and introduction/spread of exotic competing bee species are considered the main threats to most indigenous species, although other less obvious causes can affect the populations of some bee species locally. Efforts to conserve the native bee fauna include better knowledge of bee richness and diversity (standardized surveys, larger bee collections and appropriate identification of bee species) and of their population dynamics, raising of public and policy makers' awareness, commercial applications of bee products and services such as pollination and preservation of natural habitat.

Key words: Apoidea / bee biodiversity / Central America / South America / conservation / taxonomy

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2009