Flower visits, nesting and nest defence behaviour of stingless bees (Apidae: Meliponini): suitability of the bee species for meliponiculture in the Argentinean Chaco region

Abstract

Four bionomical features are here described for the seven stingless bees that inhabit a new meliponine beekeeping area: the Argentinean Chaco region. The most commonly visited plants were of herbaceous habits, predominantly had flowers of white/creamy to yellowish colour, with small-sized flowers and were of moderate mass-flowering degree. Lestrimelitta chacoana was the only robber species. The most commonly found nesting substrate was large living tree trunks, and most nests were found at the base of the trunks. Sometimes, nesting substrates and floral resources were provided by the same woody plant. Cryptic small- to medium-sized cerumen tube-like unornamented nest entrances were the most commonly found. Nest defence included aggressive (Scaptotrigona jujuyensis) and docile behaviour; the latter was classified into timid and non-timid. A key to identify the Meliponini fauna of this region is provided. The regional pattern of bionomical features seems to be associated with subtropical climate conditions. The majority of these bee species are suitable for Meliponiculture in the Chaco region.

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Acknowledgements

I wish to thank Inocencio Medina, Isabel Brait, Rogelio Burgardt, Mercedes Koler, Ricardo “Nene” Vossler, Juan Hiperdinger and César Albornoz for their warm hospitality and help during the field studies. I thank Silvana Durante for starting the present study and Arturo Roig Alsina, Isabel Vilanova, Nora Brea and manuscript editor and reviewers for providing suggestions and comments on the manuscript. This study was supported by CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas).

Fleurs visitées, comportement de nidification et de défense du nid chez les abeilles sans aiguillon (Apidae: Meliponini): choix des espèces appropriées à la méliponiculture dans la région argentine du Chaco.

Abeille agressive / tronc d’arbre mort / abeille docile / tronc d’arbre vivant / abeille subtropicale / Meliponini

Blütenbesuche, Nistverhalten und Nestverteidigung bei Stachellosen Bienen: Eignung verschiedener Arten für die Bienenhaltung in der Chaco-Region Argentiniens

Aggressive Biene / sanfte Biene / Totholzstämme / Lebendholzstämme / subtropische Stachellose Bienen

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Correspondence to Favio Gerardo Vossler.

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Vossler, F.G. Flower visits, nesting and nest defence behaviour of stingless bees (Apidae: Meliponini): suitability of the bee species for meliponiculture in the Argentinean Chaco region. Apidologie 43, 139–161 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13592-011-0097-6

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Keywords

  • aggressive bee
  • dead tree trunk
  • docile bee
  • living tree trunk
  • subtropical Meliponini bees