Free Access
Volume 36, Number 3, July-September 2005
Page(s) 285 - 291
Published online 01 June 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 285-291
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2005002

Scent marks left by Nannotrigona testaceicornis at the feeding site: cues rather than signals

Veronika M. Schmidta, Ronaldo Zucchib and Friedrich G. Bartha

a  University of Vienna, Biocenter, Department of Neurobiology and Behavioral Sciences, Althanstr. 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria
b  University of São Paulo, FFCLRP, Department of Biology, Avenida Bandeirantes 3900, 14040-901 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

(Received 16 August 2004 - Revised 9 October 2004 - Accepted 12 October 2004; Published online: 1 June 2005)

Abstract - In order to examine whether Nannotrigona testaceicornis deposits chemical attractants at a food source we made the bees choose between a feeder where nestmates had fed before and a clean unused feeder. 86 ± 5% of the bees chose the used feeder over the clean one. The attractiveness of the used feeder was reduced but not lost when the sugar water itself was scented by adding rosewood essence. When presenting the bees at a known feeding site a choice between a feeder on which 20 bees had walked incidentally at the nest entrance independent of food uptake and a clean feeder, a significant majority of bees chose the first one. Obviously, Nannotrigona testaceicornis leaves chemical cues on any object it walks on. These cues also attract bees from other nests of the same species and thus are not colony-specific.

Key words: stingless bee / Nannotrigona / foraging / recruitment / chemical cue

Corresponding author: Veronika M. Schmidt

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005