Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Living Edition
| Editors: Christopher K. Starr


  • Laurence PackerEmail author
  • Miriam H. Richards
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_55-1

The bee genus Halictus (Halictidae: Halictini) has over 200 species if the Seladonia group is included. Reproductive behavior has been studied in at least 28 species, resulting in more investigations of social behavior than in any halictid genus except Lasioglossum. Eusocial behavior is well-known in Halictus, having been described in 20 species and likely in 4 more. Social polymorphism (intraspecific behavioral variation) may involve a mix of solitary, communal, semisocial, or eusocial behavior. Almost all combinations have been found, sometimes as phases in the colony cycle. Several species have been demonstrated to be solitary, but solitary behavior at high altitudes and latitudes can also occur in socially flexible species, of which the best example in the genus is H. rubicundus. It is difficult to estimate the true frequency of solitary behavior, which is sometimes incorrectly surmised from small or geographically restricted samples. For instance, H. sexcinctuswas originally...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesBrock UniversityTorontoCanada