Pollen Storage by Melipona quadrifasciata anthidioides in a Protected Urban Atlantic Forest Area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Ortrud Monika BarthEmail author
  • Alex da Silva de Freitas
  • Bart Vanderborgth


Rio de Janeiro contains one of the largest urban forests in the world – a continuous covering of trees, shrubs, and lowland vegetation typical of the Atlantic Forest, with some exotic plant elements. Reforestation activities and conservationism require knowledge about pollination and seed production among native trees and shrubs adapted to local soil conditions. Besides other insects, birds, and bats, native Meliponini are significant pollinators that prefer certain plant species. The present study used pollen loads of Melipona quadrifasciata anthidioides, collected monthly from July 2014 to December 2015, in order to identify their floral resources and potential for pollination. Four localities were chosen to establish meliponaries inside the ombrophilous Atlantic Forest vegetation. Point 1 was established next to the Tijuca National Park visitor center, Point 2 in a lowland area of the Park, Point 3 inside a secondary and regenerating rainforest, and Point 4 inside a secondary and regenerating rainforest at a higher altitude. Pollen loads obtained from several bees each month were cleaned using ethanol, and 500 pollen grains identified. “Monofloral” was defined as >90% one floral species. Point 1 presented monofloral monthly pollen samples of Myrcia, Eucalyptus, Solanum, and Melastomataceae; Point 2 had Myrcia and Eucalyptus monofloral pollen, Point 3, Myrcia, Eucalyptus, Solanum, Anadenanthera colubrina, and Mimosa caesalpiniifolia, and Point 4, Myrcia, Eucalyptus, Anadenanthera colubrina and Melastomataceae. Bifloral batches were composed of two of these taxa. In conclusion, although Atlantic Forest is diverse, the native bee Melipona quadrifasciata anthidioides makes use of a few plant species only for its maintenance.



Thanks to Dr. P. Vit for the invitation to write this chapter, carefully reviewed by Dr. D.W. Roubik, a thematic specialist. We are grateful to Mr. Carlos Ivan Siqueira and Mr. Luiz Alberto Medina from the “Associação de Meliponicultores do Rio de Janeiro – AME-RIO,” Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for a longtime dedication of collecting pollen load samples from the bees in several points of the project. AME-RIO was helpful in providing meetings with the beekeepers also, mainly by the initiative of its president, Mr. Gesimar C. dos Santos. Financial support was given by the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, and the National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development – “Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, CNPq.”


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ortrud Monika Barth
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alex da Silva de Freitas
    • 2
  • Bart Vanderborgth
    • 3
  1. 1.Instituto Oswaldo CruzFiocruzBrazil
  2. 2.Universidade Federal FluminenseNiteróiBrazil
  3. 3.Associação de Meliponicultores do Rio de Janeiro – AME-RIORio de JaneiroBrazil

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