Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 28-30

First online:

Collection of mold (Rhizopus sp.) spores in lieu of pollen by the stingless bee Trigona collina

  • T. EltzAffiliated withLehrstuhl für Tierökologie und Tropenbiologie (Zoologie III) der Universität Würzburg, Biozentrum, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany, e-mail: eltz@biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de
  • , C. A. BrühlAffiliated withLehrstuhl für Tierökologie und Tropenbiologie (Zoologie III) der Universität Würzburg, Biozentrum, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany, e-mail: eltz@biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de
  • , C. GörkeAffiliated withLehrstuhl für Spezielle Botanik/Mykologie, Botanisches Institut der Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 1, 72076 Tübingen, Germany

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Summary:

In the course of a study on pollen diets of three sympatric species of stingless bees (Apidae: Meliponini) in Sabah, Malaysia, we made the observation that large fractions of the foragers of three colonies of Trigona collina collected corbicular loads of fungal spores in lieu of pollen. Collection of spores continued for at least three consecutive days. The spores were brought to germination in the laboratory and the culture was identified as mold of the genus Rhizopus (Zygomycota, Mucorales). Our observations represent the first reported case of the collection of Rhizopus mold spores in lieu of pollen by bees and a rare case of the collection of fungal spores by bees other than honeybees (Apis).

Key words: Spore collection, pollen foraging, pollen diet, brood provisions, Meliponini