Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 247–249

A behavioral guard caste in a primitively eusocial orchid bee, Euglossa viridissima, helps defend the nest against resin theft by conspecifics

  • S. Boff
  • N. Forfert
  • R. J. Paxton
  • E. Montejo
  • J. J. G. Quezada-Euan
Short Communication


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.


Apidae Euglossini Social evolution Intraspecific parasitism 

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 53 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (JPEG 106 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (JPEG 25 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Boff
    • 1
  • N. Forfert
    • 2
  • R. J. Paxton
    • 1
  • E. Montejo
    • 3
  • J. J. G. Quezada-Euan
    • 3
  1. 1.General Zoology, Institute for BiologyMartin-Luther-University Halle-WittenbergHalle (Saale)Germany
  2. 2.Molecular Ecology, Institute for BiologyMartin-Luther-University Halle-WittenbergHalle (Saale)Germany
  3. 3.Departamento de Apicultura, Campus Ciencias Biológicas y AgropecuariasUniversidad Autónoma de YucatánXmatkuilMexico

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