Free Access
Volume 34, Number 2, March-April 2003
Page(s) 161 - 170
Apidologie 34 (2003) 161-170
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2003008

Patterns of male production in the stingless bee Melipona favosa (Apidae, Meliponini)

Tong X. Chinhinsta, b, Gijs B.J. Grobc, Francis J.A.J. Meeuwsena and Marinus J. Sommeijera

a  Department of Social Insects, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.086, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands
b  National Bee Research and Development Centre, Langha, Dongda, Hanoi, Vietnam
c  Nationaal Herbarium Nederland, Leiden University, PO Box 9514, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

(Received 4 April 2002; revised 3 August 2002; accepted 17 September 2002)

In many stingless bee species, laying workers oviposit trophic eggs that serve as a component of the queen's diet. Workers of some species also lay reproductive worker eggs that give rise to males. Male-producing workers can occur in queenright colonies. We studied male production by workers of Melipona favosa. In six colonies monitored under field conditions, we observed that males emerged during distinct "Male Emerging Periods". Subsequently, we studied the laying of male eggs in laboratory observation hives with the use of video. We found that laying workers oviposited reproductive eggs in distinct "Reproductive Laying Worker Periods" and that this was followed by the clumped mergence of males afterwards. Behaviours of laying workers and of the ovipositing queen are preliminarily described.

Key words: Melipona / laying worker / male production / reproductive eggs / trophic eggs

Correspondence and reprints: Tong X. Chinh

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2003