Free Access
Volume 32, Number 1, January-February 2001
Page(s) 37 - 48
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2001109

Apidologie 32 (2001) 37-48

The deposition of anal excretions by Melipona favosa foragers (Apidae: Meliponinae): behavioural observations concerning the location of food sources

Ingrid Aguilara and Marinus Sommeijerb

a  Centro de Investigaciones Apícolas (CINAT) Universidad Nacional de Heredia, Apdo. 475-300 Heredia, Costa Rica
b  Ethology and Socio-Ecology Group, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.086, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands

(Received 25 January 1999; revised 11 August 2000; accepted 18 August 2000)

Melipona favosa consistently deposited anal excretions while foraging. Anal depositions were released more frequently and by more bees on artificial food sources at a greater distance from the nest. Our hypothesis that these deposits serve as scent marks is supported by experimental evidence regarding the choices made by foraging bees arriving at food sources either with or without anal excretions. The clearly reduced visitation rate in the experimental situation without depositions indicates the importance of these cues during visitation of the food source.

Key words: chemical communication / anal excretions / Melipona favosa / recruitment / stingless bees

Correspondence and reprints: Ingrid Aguilar

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2001