A behavioral guard caste in a primitively eusocial orchid bee, Euglossa viridissima, helps defend the nest against resin theft by conspecifics
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Defense castes are know from highly eusocial insects yet have rarely been described in social species with a small colony size. In nests of Euglossa viridissima, an orchid bee exhibiting primitively eusocial behavior, we recorded one subordinate female per nest to specialize in guarding in the presence of a dominant and a second subordinate who specialized in foraging. Guarding may have arisen as a response to cleptobiosis by conspecifics, as nests with a guard more successfully avoided intrusion and resin theft.
KeywordsApidae Euglossini Social evolution Intraspecific parasitism
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