Foraging behavior of individual workers and foraging dynamics of colonies of three Sumatran stingless bees
- Cite this article as:
- Inoue, T., Salmah, S., Abbas, I. et al. Res Popul Ecol (1985) 27: 373. doi:10.1007/BF02515474
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Average daily total number of foraging flights per colony was 1200 inT. minangkabau, 2400 inT. moorei and 7000 inT. itama and it was proportional to colony population size. Foragers collecting nectar, pollen or plant resin were respectively 70–80%, 10–20% and <10% in the three species. Pollen was collected most in the morning. Nectar collection peaked in midday inT. itama but continued almost evenly until dusk inT. minangkabau andT. moorei. Resin was collected evenly throughout day.
In all the three species the volume of a nectar load carried by a returning forager did not decrease until 1600, followed by slight decline. In the morning the sugar concentration of nectar was almost constantly 30%, and in the afternoon its maximum value reached 60% although some remained 30%. As a result, the mean sugar weight in a nectar load gradually increased until dusk.
InT. minangkabau, resin was collected by specialized foragers. Nectar foragers switched to collect pollen and vice versa. There were two types of foraging: “exploitatory” flights, the repitition of short, rather constant flights bringing back full resource loads, and “exploratory” flights, prolonged flight and/or reduction in amount of resources carried. Exploitatory flights followed the exploratory flights which led to discovery of rich sources. Mean duration of exploitatory flights was 7 min during nectar collection, 12 min for pollen and 23 min for resin. Sites of exploited flowers were estimated to be 84–434 m distant from the nest site. Mean duration of flights for nectar collection was 13 min in the morning and 6 min in the late afternoon.