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Services Provided by Stingless Bees

  • José Javier G. Quezada-Euán
Chapter

Abstract

Social insects have their higher diversity in the tropics (Wilson. The insect societies. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971). The highly eusocial bees (most Apis species and meliponines) are almost exclusively tropical, being the most abundant flower visitors in these areas. Both groups of highly eusocial bees are characterized by their large, perennial colonies, and their capacity to store surplus amounts of food in wax made receptacles (Roubik. Ecology and natural history of tropical bees. Cambridge University Press, 1989). Colonies of highly eusocial bees can contain thousands of individuals and, because they are perennial, require large supplies of food. To obtain food, stingless bees and honey bees visit a large diversity of flowers, making them the most important generalist pollinators in the tropics (Roubik and Moreno-Patiño. Pot-honey: a legacy of stingless bees. Springer, pp 295–314, 2013) (Table 7.1). However, compared with honey bees, stingless bee colonies have smaller flight ranges, probably a few km2 (Roubik and Aluja. J Kansas Entomol Soc 56:217–222, 1983; van Nieuwstadt and Ruano Iraheta. Apidologie 27:219–228, 1996; Kuhn-Neto et al. Apidologie 40:472–480, 2009). Notably, palynological analyses of the diet reveal differences in the use of the flora among stingless bees, indicating preferences for some plant species, even within bees considered floral generalists (Roubik and Moreno-Patiño. Pot-honey: a legacy of stingless bees. Springer, pp 295–314, 2013).

Keywords

Keystone species Floral constancy Floral specialization Buzz-pollination Pollination efficiency Pollination index Bagging experiment Xenogamy Geitonogamy Autogamy 

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Javier G. Quezada-Euán
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Apicultura Tropical, Campus de Ciencias Biológicas y AgropecuariasUniversidad Autónoma de YucatánMéridaMexico

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