, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 129–141 | Cite as

Pollen resources and trophic niche breadth of Apis mellifera and Melipona obscurior (Hymenoptera, Apidae) in a subtropical climate in the Atlantic rain forest of southern Brazil

  • Suzane B. Hilgert-Moreira
  • Carla Andrea Nascher
  • Sidia Maria Callegari-Jacques
  • Betina Blochtein
Original article


Pollen sources that comprise the trophic niche of native bee species Melipona obscurior and introduced Apis mellifera and the breadth of this niche were studied in two areas in the Atlantic rain forest of southern Brazil. Pollen obtained from the forager bees during a period of 12 months showed that the richness of pollen types found in each sample varied from 5 to 21 for A. mellifera and from 1 to 10 for M. obscurior. In both areas, A. mellifera had higher niche breadth. M. obscurior demonstrated the temporal specialization, which was primarily related to the use of floral sources with poricidal anthers. The non-native pollen type Eucalyptus produced similar results for both bee species. Knowledge of plant species that sustain bee communities in the Atlantic rain forest of southern Brazil contributes toward the management and conservation of native bee populations and increases the beekeeping of stingless bees and honey bees in this region.


Meliponini floral resources pollinators stingless bees pollen 



The authors would like to thank Gentil Paulo Botta, Girlei Edomar dos Passos, and Valdomiro Irineu dos Passos for allowing the use of their bee colonies in this study. In addition, they would like to thank Tiago Closs de Marchi, Mariluza Nardino, and João Larocca for the identification of botanical material and the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior–CAPES, for scholarship support.

Supplementary material

13592_2013_234_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (233 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 232 KB)


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Copyright information

© INRA, DIB and Springer-Verlag France 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzane B. Hilgert-Moreira
    • 1
  • Carla Andrea Nascher
    • 1
  • Sidia Maria Callegari-Jacques
    • 2
  • Betina Blochtein
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratório de Ecofisiologia Vegetal, Centro de Ciências da SaúdeUniversidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos-UNISINOSSão LeopoldoBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Estatística, Instituto de MatemáticaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul–UFRGSPorto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.Laboratório de Entomologia, Faculdade de BiociênciasPontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul-PUCRSPorto AlegreBrazil

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