Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 101–117 | Cite as

Host-parasite relationships in six species ofSphecodes bees and their halictid hosts: Nest intrusion, intranidal behavior, and Dufour's gland volatiles (Hymenoptera: Halictidae)

  • M. Sick
  • M. Ayasse
  • J. Tengö
  • W. Engels
  • G. Lübke
  • W. Francke


Nest invasion behavior was studied in six kleptoparasiticSphecodes species at four nesting sites of their respective social and solitary hosts.Sphecodes females preferred to enter unguarded nests. Nest intruding strategies observed in the differentSphecodes species did not depend on whether host species were solitary or social, as long as the nesting cycle of a social host was in the solitary stage (i.e., a single host female). Observation of intranidal behavior revealed thatSphecodes monilicornis females kill all host individuals within an usurped nest. They stay in the nest for several hours, laying eggs in adequately provisioned brood cells. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses of Dufour's gland secretions revealed species-specific compositions. Qualitative comparisons of whole patterns and quantitative comparisons considering the predominant hydrocarbons common to both host and parasite contradict the hypothesis of chemical mimetism, a mechanism supposed to permit parasite intrusion by qualitatively similar odor bouquets in host and parasite females.

Key words

kleptoparasitism intranidal behavior invasion behavior Dufour's gland secretions Halictidae 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Sick
    • 1
  • M. Ayasse
    • 2
  • J. Tengö
    • 3
  • W. Engels
    • 1
  • G. Lübke
    • 4
  • W. Francke
    • 4
  1. 1.LS Entwicklungsphysiologie, Zoologisches InstitutUniversität TübingenTübingenBRD
  2. 2.Abt. Evolutionsbiologie, Zoologisches InstitutUniversität WienWienÖsterreich
  3. 3.Ecological Research Station of Uppsala UniversityFärjestadenSweden
  4. 4.Institut Organische Chemie und BiochemieUniversität HamburgHamburg 13BRD

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