Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 387–391 | Cite as

Nectar dehydration by male carpenter bees as preparation for mating flights

  • Dieter Wittmann
  • Eckart Scholz


Females of all social and many solitary bees dehydrate nectar before storing it or adding it to larval provisions. Nectar dehydration by males has rarely been documented. We report on the neotropical facultatively social carpenter bee Xylocopa nigrocincta, in which the nest constant males are fed nectar by their female nestmates. Males dehydrate the nectar at the nest entrance before leaving the nest for mating territories. We show that males thereby minimize their water load, resulting in an improvement of their energy budget during hovering flights in their territories. Males can prolong the duration of territorial flights if they cany highly concentrated nectar. We assume that nectar dehydration as a pre-mating behavior is not correlated with the social organization in Xylocopa species. However, the behavior is particularly weil-developed in X. nigrocincta, where during the mating period males remain integrated in the nest society and are fed by their mothers and sisters.


Social Organization Energy Budget Mating Period Nest Entrance Water Load 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dieter Wittmann
    • 1
  • Eckart Scholz
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoologisches InstitutUniversität TübingenTübingenFederal Republic of Germany

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