Free Access
Volume 37, Number 4, July-August 2006
Page(s) 487 - 500
Published online 17 May 2006
Apidologie 37 (2006) 487-500
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2006016

Recruitment in a scent trail laying stingless bee (Scaptotrigona aff. depilis): Changes with reduction but not with increase of the energy gain

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

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

(Received 31 October 2005 - revised 7 December 2005 - accepted 20 December 2005 - published online 17 May 2006)

Abstract - How does the sugar concentration of the food source affect the recruitment of Scaptotrigona aff. depilis? We offered sugar water of either constant, increasing, or decreasing concentrations. Simultaneously, we recorded the number of recruits and the recruiters' running speed, jostling contacts, and vibrations inside the nest. Neither the number of recruits nor the behavioral parameters depended on the actual sugar concentration but rather on the changes experienced over time. Concentration increases neither led to increased numbers of recruits nor to increased recruitment activity. Concentration decreases resulted in significantly decreased numbers of recruits. However, most parameters of intranidal activity changed significantly only when the concentration was reduced from 40% to 20% w/w and recruitment to the food source nearly ceased. These findings support the idea of a feedback mechanism reducing the colony's effort to exploit food sources of decreasing profitability.

Key words: stingless bee / recruitment / foraging / food profitability / communication / Apidae / Meliponini

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2006