Free Access
Volume 39, Number 4, July-August 2008
Page(s) 410 - 418
Published online 25 June 2008
Apidologie 39 (2008) 410-418
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2008023

Nectar-foraging behavior of Euglossine bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in urban areas

Margarita María López-Uribe, Cintia Akemi Oi and Marco Antonio Del Lama

Laboratório de Genética Evolutiva de Himenópteros, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Rodovia Washington Luiz km 235, CEP 13565.905, São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil

Received 30 August 2007 - Revised 11 January 2008 - Accepted 19 February 2008 - Published online 25 June 2008

Abstract - Euglossine bees have been described as long-distance pollinators because of their great flight capacities although flight capacity is not necessarily correlated to home range. Here we report the nectar-foraging behavior of two euglossine species (Euglossa cordata and Eulaema nigrita) in urban areas and the predictive power of wing wear as an age estimator of these bees, using mark-recapture techniques at Thevetia peruviana trees. A total of 870 bees were marked. Recapture rates were 33% ($\pm $ 19.2) for E. cordata and 25% ($\pm $ 2.5) for E. nigrita. Only 7 bees were sighted at a different site from where they were first captured. More than 75% of the individuals showed site-constancy at trees for at least 30 days. Wing wear accumulation rate was variable among individuals and it was a poor predictor of age for E. cordata. Our data show that euglossine bees may have small foraging ranges in urban areas, indicating that home ranges greatly differ from their flight capacity and homing ability.

Key words: orchid bees / Euglossa cordata / Eulaema nigrita / mark-recapture / wing wear

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2008