, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 65-73

First online:

Evolutionary aspects of perfume collection in male euglossine bees (Hymenoptera) and of nest deception in bee-pollinated flowers

  • Klaus LunauAffiliated withInstitut für Zoologie der Universität

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A fascinating pollination system has been evolved between perfume producing flowers and perfume collecting male euglossine bees in the neotropics. Detailed investigations have contributed to an understanding of the interactions between euglossine males and flowers as a pollination system. The role which the collected perfume plays in the reproductive behaviour of euglossine bees is not fully understood. A favoured hypothesis suggests that the collected fragrances are used as precursors for male sex pheromones and thus serve to attract conspecific males or females. It is not known how perfume collection behaviour evolved. Here, an evolutionary approach presents a new hypothesis which suggests that the evolution of perfume collection in euglossine males is based upon pre-existing signals which were attractive to females and males. It is further suggested that, at the evolutionary outset, flowers mimicked nest sites to deceive nest-seeking euglossine bees. In addition, a comparative study was undertaken on the phenomena of nest-mimicking flowers in related bee families.

Key words

euglossine flowers perfume collection euglossophily floral fragrant exudates nesting behaviour mating behaviour bee pheromones nest mimicry signal evolution Hymenoptera Apidae Euglossinae