Free Access
Volume 28, Number 3-4, 1997
Page(s) 129 - 141
Apidologie 28 (1997) 129-141
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19970304

High incidence of infection of an undescribed microsporidium (Microspora) in the communal bee Andrena scotica (Hymenoptera, Andrenidae)

R.J. Paxtona, I. Friesb, N.J. Pieniazekc and J. Tengöd

a  Lehrstuhl Entwicklungsphysiologie, Zoologisches Institut der Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, D-720 76 Tübingen, Germany
b  Department of Entomology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7044, S-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
c  Division of Parasitic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway NE, Mailstop F13, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA
d  Ecological Research Station of Uppsala University, Ölands Skogsby 6280, S-386 93 Färjestaden, Sweden

Abstract - We document the abundance and distribution of the spores of an undescribed species of microsporidium within its host, the communal bee Andrena scotica, and relationships between this parasite and its host. Only the host's adipose tissue (fat bodies) appeared infected, with up to 118 × 106 spores per bee. All hosts at one field site were infected. High spore load within hosts appeared to curtail female reproductive activity. However, we were unable to discern the microsporidium's effects on male fecundity in that some males with a high spore load did undertake mate searching activity. Longevities of naturally infected A scotica males and females in a flight cage were apparently unaffected by the microsporidium. Spores were found in A scotica from other field sites but not in other species of bees, suggesting the microsporidium has a high degree of host specificity.

Key words: Andrena scotica / communal bee / infection / Microspora / microsporidium