Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 94, Issue 8, pp 703–707 | Cite as

Flower-visiting behavior of male bees is triggered by nectar-feeding insects

  • Shinji Sugiura
  • Tetsuto Abe
  • Yuichi Yamaura
  • Shun’ichi Makino
Short Communication

Abstract

Bees are important pollinators for many flowering plants. Female bees are thought to be more effective pollinators than male bees because they carry much more pollen than males. Males of some solitary bee species are known to patrol near flowers that females visit. Because patrolling males visit flowers to mate or defend their territories, they may function as pollinators. However, the significance of patrolling males to pollination has not been studied. We studied males of a solitary bee, Heriades fulvohispidus (Megachilidae), patrolling near flowers and visiting flowers that attracted nectar-feeding insects, including conspecifics, on the Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands. To test the hypothesis that patrolling male bees may function as pollen vectors, we compared the frequency of visits by H. fulvohispidus to flowers of an endemic plant, Schima mertensiana (Theaceae); comparisons were made among flowers with a dead H. fulvohispidus, a dead beetle, a piece of plastic, and nothing (control flowers). Patrolling H. fulvohispidus more frequently visited flowers with a dead conspecific, a dead beetle, or a piece of plastic than the control flowers. Our experiment demonstrates that nectar-feeding insects (including conspecifics and other insects) enhance the flower-visiting frequency of patrolling H. fulvohispidus males on S. mertensiana flowers. Furthermore, we observed S. mertensiana pollen on patrolling males as well as females, suggesting that male bees may also function as pollen vectors.

Keywords

Heriades fulvohispidus Oceanic islands Pollination Schima mertensiana Solitary bees 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shinji Sugiura
    • 1
  • Tetsuto Abe
    • 1
  • Yuichi Yamaura
    • 1
  • Shun’ichi Makino
    • 1
  1. 1.Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI)TsukubaJapan

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