Colony internal conditions related to caste production in Melipona compressipes fasciculata (Apidae, Meliponini)
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Caste fate conflict is expected in Melipona bees because queens and workers are the same size and are reared in identical sealed cells. Extrinsic and intrinsic colonial factors, however, seem to have limiting effects on queen production. The consequences of colonial conditions on both queen and worker production, particularly the effects of food storage in the colonies, are still poorly understood. Here, we investigated whether caste production in seven natural colonies of Melipona compressipes fasciculata was affected by food resources, seasonal factors, or internal factors. The results showed that, at the populational level, about 5% of the females developed into gynes; in the strongest colony, 12.7% of the females developed into gynes. Male production was verified only in stronger colonies. We suggest that caste ratio is primarily affected by intra-colonial conditions rather than by food resources.
Keywords.Stingless bees Meliponini Melipona compressipes caste production male production
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