Stingless bees (Hymenoptera, Meliponini) feeding on stinkhorn spores (Fungi, Phallales): robbery or dispersal?

Abstract

Records about stingless bee-fungi interaction are very rare. In Brazilian Amazonia, workers of Trigona crassipes (Fabricius, 1793) and Trigona fulviventris Guérin, 1835 visiting two stinkhorn species, Dictyophora sp. and Phallus sp., respectively, were observed. The workers licked the fungi gleba, a mucilaginous mass of spores covering the pileum. Neither gleba residue nor spores were found on the body surface of these bee workers. These observations indicate that these bee species include spores as a complement in their diet. On the other hand, they also suggest that these stingless bees can, at times, facilitale spore dispersal, in case intact spores are eliminated with the feces.

Stingless bee-fungi interaction; Dictyophora; Phallus; Phallales; robbery; spore dispersal; Trigona


SCIENTIFIC COMMUNICATION

Stingless bees (Hymenoptera, Meliponini) feeding on stinkhorn spores (Fungi, Phallales): robbery or dispersal?1 1 Publication number 302 of the PDBFF (INPA/SI).

Marcio L. OliveiraI,II; Elder F. MoratoI,II

IDepartamento de Ciências da Natureza, Universidade Federal do Acre. 69915-900 Rio Branco, Acre, Brasil

IIProjeto Dinâmica Biológica de Fragmentos Florestais (PDBFF-INPA/Smithsonian Institution). Caixa postal 478, Manaus, 69011-970 Amazonas, Brasil

ABSTRACT

Records about stingless bee-fungi interaction are very rare. In Brazilian Amazonia, workers of Trigona crassipes (Fabricius, 1793) and Trigona fulviventris Guérin, 1835 visiting two stinkhorn species, Dictyophora sp. and Phallus sp., respectively, were observed. The workers licked the fungi gleba, a mucilaginous mass of spores covering the pileum. Neither gleba residue nor spores were found on the body surface of these bee workers. These observations indicate that these bee species include spores as a complement in their diet. On the other hand, they also suggest that these stingless bees can, at times, facilitale spore dispersal, in case intact spores are eliminated with the feces.

Key words: Stingless bee-fungi interaction, Dictyophora, Phallus, Phallales, robbery, spore dispersal, Trigona

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. The authors thank João M.F. Camargo and Silvia R.M. Pedro for bee identification; Vera L. Bononi, Marina Capelari and Jair Putzke for fungus identification; Cleber I. Salimon and Gisele G. Azevedo for their communications; Maria Cristina Gaglianone and Gabriel A.R. Melo for valuable comments on the manuscript, J. Christopher Brown for language revision and PDBFF (INPA-SI) and SUFRAMA for support.

Recebido em 02.IX.1999; aceito em 16.VIII.2000.

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  • 1
    Publication number 302 of the PDBFF (INPA/SI).

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    11 May 2009
  • Date of issue
    Sept 2000

History

  • Received
    02 Sept 1999
  • Accepted
    16 Aug 2000
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