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
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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.