Nest initiation by multiple females in an aerial-nesting orchid bee, Euglossa cybelia (Apidae: Euglossini)
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Among orchid bees that have been observed, nest initiation by multiple females is rare, and has never been reported from an aerial-nesting species. Here, we document nest initiation by multiple females in the aerial-nesting Euglossa cybelia. Observations were carried out on five nests, which were found on the undersides of understory palm leaves in Costa Rica. Female bees collaborated in constructing the envelope, but when this was finished each bee built and provisioned its own cells. This species therefore shows communal behavior. In one of the nests, individual foraging trips and interactions between female bees were quantified. Although, there were no overall differences between individuals with respect to initiating or receiving aggression, this changed over time.
Keywordsaggressive interactions communal behavior nest construction reproductive behavior
We thank William Eberhard, Daniel Arauz, and José Zelaya for the help in locating nests; William Eberhard and Mary Jane West-Eberhard for guidance in the collection of data and discussion of results; Gilbert Barrantes for his help with the data analysis; and four anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions for improving the manuscript. This work is the result of the Field Biology Course organized by the School of Biology of the University of Costa Rica.
DSB and MFO conceived this study; DSB collected and analyzed the data; DSB, PH, and MFO wrote the paper and participated in the revision of it. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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