Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 341–354 | Cite as

Observations on the behaviours of three European cuckoo bumble bee species (Psithyrus)

  • R. M. Fisher
Article

Summary

Females of three European species of cuckoo bumble bees (P. bohemicus, P. vestalis, andP. campestris) were introduced into free-foraging laboratory colonies of theirBombus hosts (B. locorum, B. Terrestris andB. pascuorum, respectively). The colony development of one successfully parasitized colony of each bumble bee species was studied.Psithyrus females cohabited with host queens and workers, but monopolized brood development through oophagy, larval ejection and the attempted dominance of host bees. SomePsithyrus brood also was destroyed, and host bees in all three colonies were successful in rearing reproductive offspring. Prolonged social contact betweenPsithyrus females and their hosts, and the possibility of host reproduction in parasitized colonies, suggest that there is considerable opportunity for coevolutionary complexity inBombus-Psithyrus relationships.

Keywords

Social Contact Nous Avons European Species Colony Development Laboratory Coloni 

Observations sur le comportement reproducteur de trois espèces de bourdons «coucou» européens (Psithyrus)

Resume

Nous avons introduit des femelles de trois espèces européennes (P. bohemicus, P. vestalis etP. compestris) dans des colonies de laboratoire de leur hôteBombus (B. lucorum, B. terrestris etB. pascuorum) pouvant fourrager librement. Pour chaque espèce de bourdon, nous avons étudié le développement d'une colonie, où des parasites avaient été introduits avec succès. Les femellesPsithyrus ont cohabité avec les reines et les ouvrières hôtes, mais ont monopolisé le développement du couvain à travers l'oophagie, l'expulsion des larves, et les tentatives de dominer les bourdons hôtes. Une partie du couvainPsithyrus a été détruite aussi, et les bourdons hôtes des trois colonies ont réussi à élever du couvain de reproducteurs. Les contacts sociaux prolongés entre les femallesPsithyrus et leurs hôtes, ainsi que la possibilité de reproduction de l'hôte au sein des colonies parasitées semblent indiquer que des complexités coévolutives dans les rapportsBombus-Psithyrus ne sont pas rares.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alford D.V., 1975.—Bumblebees,Davis-Poynter, publ., London, 352 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Cumber R.A., 1949.—Humble-bee parasites and commensals found within a thirty mile radius of London.Proc. R. ent. Soc. Lond., A 24, 119–127.Google Scholar
  3. Fisher R.M., 1984.—Dominance by a bumble bee social parasite (Psithyrus citrinus) over markers of its host (Bombus impatiens).Anim. Behav., 32, 303–304.Google Scholar
  4. Fisher R.M., 1987 a.—Queen-worker conflict and social parasitism in bumble bees.Anim. Behav., 35, 1026–1036.Google Scholar
  5. Fisher R.M., 1987 b.—Temporal dynamics of facultative social parasitism in bumble bees.Anim. Behav., 35, 1628–1636.Google Scholar
  6. Fisher R.M., Weary D.M., 1988.—Buzzing bees: communication between bumble bee social parasites (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and their hosts.Bioacoustics, 1, 3–12.Google Scholar
  7. Free J.B., Weinberg I., Whiten A., 1969.—The egg-eating behaviour ofBombus lapidarius L.Behaviour, 35, 313–317.Google Scholar
  8. Hoffer E., 1888.—Die schmarotzerhummeln Steiermarks. Lebensgeschichte und beschreibung derselben.Mitt. naturw. Ver. Steirermark, 25, 82–158.Google Scholar
  9. Honk C.G.J. van, Velthuis H.H.W., Röseler P.F., Malotaux M.E., 1980.—The mandibular glands ofBombus terrestris queens as a source of queen pheromones.Ent. Exp. & Appl., 28, 191–198.Google Scholar
  10. Honk C. van, Röseler P.F., Velthuis H. Malotaux M., 1981.—The conquest of aBombus terrestris colony by aPsithyrus vestalis female.Apidologie, 12, 57–67.Google Scholar
  11. Michener C.D., 1974.—The Social Behavior of the Bees.Harvard Univ. Press, publ., Cambridge, 404 pp.Google Scholar
  12. Salkeld E.H., 1978.—The chorionic structure of the eggs of some species of bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombinae), and its use in taxonomy.Can. Entomol., 110, 71–83.Google Scholar
  13. Sladen F.W.L., 1912.—The humble-bee, its life history and how to domesticate it.Macmillan and Co., publ., London, 283 pp.Google Scholar
  14. Tod C., 1986.—Socio-economic effects on colony size in the bumble beeBombus terrestris (Hymenoptera: Apidae).MSc Thesis, Massey University, New Zealand, 85 pp.Google Scholar
  15. Trivers R.L., Hare H., 1976.—Haplodiploidy and the evolution of the social insects.Science, 191, 249–263.Google Scholar
  16. Webb, 1961.—The biology of the bumble bees of a limited area in eastern Nebraska.Ph.D. thesis, Univ. Nebraska, Lincoln, 337 pp.Google Scholar
  17. Wilson E.O., 1971.—The Insect Societies.Harvard Univ. Press, publ., Cambridge, Mass, 548 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Masson 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Fisher
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations