Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 19, Issue 12, pp 3017-3027

First online:

Nonfloral sources of chemicals that attract male euglossine bees (Apidae: Euglossini)

  • W. Mark WhittenAffiliated withFlorida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
  • , Allen M. YoungAffiliated withMilwaukee Public Museum
  • , David L. SternAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University

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We present chemical analysis of four rotten or fungus-infected logs that attracted fragrance-collecting male euglossine bees. Eight of the 10 volatile compounds detected have never been found in the fragrances of orchids pollinated by male euglossine bees. Nonfloral sources of chemicals such as rotting wood may constitute an important fragrance resource for male bees. Since rotten logs produce large quantities of chemicals over long periods of time, such nonfloral sources might be more important than flowers as a source of certain fragrances for some euglossine bee species. Fragrance collecting in euglossine bees might have evolved originally in relation with rotting wood rather than flowers.

Key Words

Hymenoptera Apidae Euglossini floral fragrance fungi skatole chemical ecology orchid rotting wood