Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 256–263 | Cite as

Foraging behavior of three bee species in a natural mimicry system: female flowers which mimic male flowers in Ecballium elaterium (Cucurbitaceae)

  • Reuyen Dukas
Original Papers

Summary

The behavior of Apis mellifera and two species of solitary bees which forage in the flowers of monoecious Ecballium elaterium (L.) A. Rich (Cucurbitaceae) were compared. The female flowers of E. elaterium resemble male flowers visually but are nectarless, and their number is relatively smaller. Apis mellifera was found to discriminate between the two genders and to pay relatively fewer visits to female flowers (mean of 30% relative to male flowers) from the beginning of their activity in the morning. The time spent by honeybees in female flowers is very short compared to that spent in male flowers. It is surmised that the bees remember the differences between the flowers where they foraged on the previous days. In contrast, the two species of solitary bees Lasioglossum politum (Morawitz) (Halictidae) and Ceratina mandibularis Fiese (Anthophoridae) visit the female flowers with nearly equal frequencies at the beginning of each foraging day and stay longer in these flowers. Over the day there is a decline in the relative frequency of visits to female flowers and also in the mean time spent in them. The study shows that bees can collect rewards at high efficiency from the flowers of Ecballium elaterium because of their partial discrimination ability and the scarcity of the mimic flowers. It is suggested that the memory pattern of some solitary bees may be different from that of Apis mellifera. It seems that the limited memory and discrimination ability of bees can lead to a high frequency of visits to the mimic flowers during a long flowering season.

Key words

Foraging behavior Pollination Mimicrysolitary bees Ecballium elaterium 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ackerman JD (1981) Pollination biology of Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis (Orchidaceae): A food-deception system. Madrano 28:101–110Google Scholar
  2. Agren J, Elmqvist T, Tunlid A (1986) Pollination by deceit, floral sex ratios and seed set in dioecious Rubus chamaemorus L. Oecologia (Berlin) 70:332–338Google Scholar
  3. Baker HG (1976) “Mistake” pollination as a reproductive system with special reference to the Caricaceae. In: Burley J, Styles BT (eds) Tropical Trees: Variation, Breeding and Conservation. New York: Academic Press, pp 161–169Google Scholar
  4. Batra SWT (1984) Solitary Bees. Sci Am 250:86–93Google Scholar
  5. Bawa KS (1980) Mimicry of male by female flowers and intrasexual competition for pollinators in Jacaratia dolichula (D. Smith) Woodson (Caricaceae). Evolution 34:467–474Google Scholar
  6. Dafni A (1984) Pollination of Orchis caspia — a nectarless plant which deceives the pollinators of nectariferous species from other plant families. J Ecol 71:467–474Google Scholar
  7. Dafni A (1984) Mimicry and deception in pollination. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 15:259–278Google Scholar
  8. Dafni A, Woodell SAJ (1986) Stigmatic exudate and the pollination of Dactylorhiza fuchsii. Flora 178:343–350Google Scholar
  9. Free JB (1966) The foraging behaviour of bees and its effect on the isolation and speciation of plants. In: Lawkes JG (ed) Reproductive Biology and Taxonomy of Vascular Plants London: Pergamon Press, pp 76–92Google Scholar
  10. Frisch K von (1967) The Dance Language and Orientation of Bees. Harvard Univ Press, Cambridge Mass, p 566Google Scholar
  11. Ginsberg HS (1985) Foraging movements of Halictus ligatus (Hymenoptera: Halictidae) and Ceratina calcarata (Hymenoptera: Anthophoridae) on Chrysanthemum leucanthemum and Erigeron annuus (Asteraceae). J Kansas Ent Soc 58:19–26Google Scholar
  12. Grant V (1950) The flower constancy of bees. Bot Rev 16:379–398Google Scholar
  13. Heinrich B, Mudge PR, Deringis PG (1977) Laboratory analysis of flower constancy in foraging bumblebees: Bombus ternarius and B. terricola. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 2:247–265Google Scholar
  14. Horovitz A, Cohen Y (1972) Ultraviolet reflectance characteristics in flowers of Crucifers. Am J Bot 59:706–713Google Scholar
  15. Levin DA, Kerster HW, Niedzlek M (1971) Pollinator flight directionality and its effect on pollen flow. Evolution 25:113–118Google Scholar
  16. Linsley EG (1958) The ecology of solitary bees. Hilgardia 27:543–599Google Scholar
  17. Little RJ (1983) A review of floral food deception with comments on floral mutualism. In: Jones CE, Little RJ (eds) Handbook of Experimental Pollinatin Biology. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, pp 195–217Google Scholar
  18. Michener CD (1974) The Social Behavior of bees. Harvard Univ press. Cambridge MassGoogle Scholar
  19. Nilsson LA (1980) The pollination ecology of Dactyloriza sumbucina (Orchidaceae). Bot Not 133:367–385Google Scholar
  20. Nilsson LA (1983) Anthecology of Orchis mascula (Orchidaceae). Nord J Bot 3:157–179Google Scholar
  21. Pyke GH, Pulliam HR, Charnov EL (1977) Optimal foraging: a selective review of theory and tests. Q Rev Biol 52:137–154Google Scholar
  22. Stephenson AG (1981) Flower and fruit abortion: proximate causes and ultimate functions. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 12:253–279Google Scholar
  23. Waddington KD (1979) Flight patterns of three species of sweat bees (Halictidae) foraging at Convolvulus arvensis. J Kansas Entomol Soc 52:751–758Google Scholar
  24. Waser D (1986) Flower constancy: definition, cause and measurement. Am Nat 127:593–603Google Scholar
  25. Weins D (1978) Mimicry in plants. Evol Biol 11:365–403Google Scholar
  26. Zohary M (1962) Plant Life in Palestine. Ronald Press, NY, pp 262Google Scholar
  27. Zohary M, Feinbrun-Dothan N (1964–86) Flora Palaestina. Israel Academy of Science and HumanitiesGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reuyen Dukas
    • 1
  1. 1.Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Department of BotanyThe Hebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations