Nesting Ecology of Stingless Bees in Africa

  • Robert KajobeEmail author
  • David W. Roubik


The exact number of species of stingless bees in Africa is not yet known because of gaps in research, but 24 species in 8 genera are discussed herein. Afrotropical meliponines have fewer species but appear more diverse than Asian fauna, primarily by including larger bees, exposed nesting, or cleptobiotic species. Nests are made in active termite or ant nests, in the ground, and in tree cavities or exposed on woody stems; nest entrances tend to be small and not intensely defended by biting. No diseases have been documented for the stingless bees of Africa, yet predation including invertebrates, birds, and apes likely influenced bee nesting biology and behavior. Since before the Tertiary, when Africa received its stingless bees from Brazilian ancestors, a distinctive meliponine fauna evolved but is now the least species-rich of major tropical regions.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO)Rwebitaba Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Rwebitaba ZARDI)Fort PortalUganda
  2. 2.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteCalle PortobeloBalboaRepublic of Panama
  3. 3.National Museum of Natural HistoryWashington, DCUSA

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