Free Access
Volume 35, Number 2, March-April 2004
Information flow and group decision making in social bees
Page(s) 159 - 182
Apidologie 35 (2004) 159-182
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2004007

Recruitment communication in stingless bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponini)

James C. Nieh

University of California San Diego, Division of Biological Sciences, Section of Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution, 9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0116, La Jolla, CA 92093-0116, USA
(Received 25 August 2003; revised 28 October 2003; accepted 2 December 2003)

Abstract - - The stingless bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponini) have evolved sophisticated communication systems that allow foragers to recruit nestmates to good resources. Over the past 50 years, a growing body of research has shown that foragers can communicate three-dimensional resource location, uncovered several potential communication mechanisms, and demonstrated new information transfer mechanisms. Some of these mechanisms are unique to stingless bees and some may provide insight into how the ability to encode location information, a form of functionally referential communication, has evolved in the highly social bees. The goal of this review is to examine meliponine recruitment communication, focusing on evidence for contact-based, visual, olfactory, and acoustic communication and what these mechanisms can tell us about the evolution of recruitment communication in stingless bees.

Key words: Meliponini / information transfer / referential communication / recruitment / multimodality

Corresponding author: James C. Nieh

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2004