Free Access
Volume 36, Number 3, July-September 2005
Page(s) 325 - 330
Published online 07 July 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 325-330
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2005018

Repellent foraging scent recognition across bee families

Nadine Gawleta, Yvonne Zimmermann and Thomas Eltz

Department of Neurobiology, Sensory Ecology Group, University of Düsseldorf, Universitätsstr. 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany

(Received 20 July 2004 - Revised 4 November 2004 - Accepted 17 November 2004; Published online: 7 July 2005)

Abstract - Honeybees and bumblebees avoid probing flowers that have been recently depleted by conspecifics, presumably repelled by odours deposited by the previous visitor (foraging scent marks). Here we show that females of the solitary wool-carder bee Anthidium manicatum (Megachilidae) discriminate against previously visited inflorescences (Stachys officinalis), and that discrimination is equally strong regardless of whether the previous visitor is conspecific or belongs to a different bee family (Bombus terrestris, Apidae). Conversely, workers of B. terrestris responded differentially to different previous visitors, with previous visits by A. manicatum eliciting the most pronounced repellent effect. This finding may have resulted from the bumblebees' avoidance of impending aggression by territorial A. manicatum males. Our results emphasize that foraging scent mark recognition is not necessarily linked to sociality, but a trait of individuals foraging in an unpredictable flower visitor community.

Key words: scent marks / footprints / flower discrimination / Bombus / Anthidium

Corresponding author: Thomas Eltz

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005