Free Access
Volume 26, Number 3, 1995
Non-Apis bees
Page(s) 181 - 196
Apidologie 26 (1995) 181-196
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19950302

Why males of leafcutter bees hold the females' antennae with their front legs during mating

D. Wittmanna and B. Blochteinb

a  Laboratório de Pesquisas Biológicas da Universidade de Tübingen, PUC/RS, Av Ipiranga 6681, 90620 Pôrto Alegre, Brazil
b  Zoologisches Institut, LS Entwicklungsphysiologie, Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, 72076 Tübingen, Germany

Abstract - Epidermal odor glands were found in the front leg basitarsi of males of various subgenera of leafcutter bees from the Old and New World. In these males, the legs, the mandibles and the head capsules are modified. During mating these structures are used by the male to grasp the female and bring the antennae of the female in close contact with the openings of the basitarsal odor glands of the front legs. Odor glands and analogous modifications of associated body structures were also found in xylocopine bees and in a sphecid wasp.

Key words: Megachilidae / Xylocopini / Sphecidae / odor gland / mating