Free Access
Volume 23, Number 5, 1992
Page(s) 431 - 442
Apidologie 23 (1992) 431-442
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19920505

Pre-copulatory courtship behavior in a solitary bee, Nomia triangulifera Vachal (Hymenoptera: Halictidae)

W.T. Wcisloa, R.L. Minckleya and H.C. Spanglerb

a  University of Kansas, Snow Entomological Museum, Department of Entomology, Lawrence, KS 66045-2119, USA
b  USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Bee Research Center, 2000 E Allen Rd, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA

Abstract - Complex courtship behavior occurs both before and during mating of a solitary bee, Nomia triangulifera. Males begin emerging before females, and patrol over the emergence site, although some males also fly near sunflower plants, the exclusive food source of the females. The sizes of males patrolling at these two locations, and those collected while mating were not significantly different. Courtship behavior involves use of the fore- and mid-legs, the metasoma (abdomen), antennae, and the indirect flight muscles to produce loud, audible buzzes. The hind legs have expanded tibiae which are used for clasping the female. Females rarely mated more than once when held in cages. Receptive females usually lacked sperm in their spermathecae, while unreceptive females often had sperm.

Key words: Nomia triangulifera / Halictidae / mating behavior / sexual selection