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Defensive behavior and chemical deterrence against ants in the stingless bee genus Trigona (Apidae, Meliponini)

Lehmberg, Lars and Dworschak, Kai and Blüthgen, Nico (2008):
Defensive behavior and chemical deterrence against ants in the stingless bee genus Trigona (Apidae, Meliponini).
In: Journal of Apicultural Research, pp. 17-21, 47, (1), [Article]

Abstract

Five species of Trigona (Apidae, Meliponini) in Borneo were tested for anti-predator deterrents, which potentially contribute to the protection of individual bees as well as their colony. Feeding choice experiments were performed with three predatory ant species. In most cases, ants significantly preferred bees that were washed with solvents (hexane and chloroform respectively) over untreated bees. This shows that stingless bees possess ant-deterrent substances. We suggest that plant-originated terpenes on the bees' cuticles contribute to this deterrent effect. Furthermore, we observed behavioral defences of two Trigona species at their colony entrance. Upon simulated nest intrusion of ant workers, bees predominantly reacted with aggressive biting, but also utilized resin-like substances as glue against intruders. Therefore, stingless bees utilize a combination of defences that may help to deter ants as potential predators inside and outside the nest.

Item Type: Article
Erschienen: 2008
Creators: Lehmberg, Lars and Dworschak, Kai and Blüthgen, Nico
Title: Defensive behavior and chemical deterrence against ants in the stingless bee genus Trigona (Apidae, Meliponini)
Language: English
Abstract:

Five species of Trigona (Apidae, Meliponini) in Borneo were tested for anti-predator deterrents, which potentially contribute to the protection of individual bees as well as their colony. Feeding choice experiments were performed with three predatory ant species. In most cases, ants significantly preferred bees that were washed with solvents (hexane and chloroform respectively) over untreated bees. This shows that stingless bees possess ant-deterrent substances. We suggest that plant-originated terpenes on the bees' cuticles contribute to this deterrent effect. Furthermore, we observed behavioral defences of two Trigona species at their colony entrance. Upon simulated nest intrusion of ant workers, bees predominantly reacted with aggressive biting, but also utilized resin-like substances as glue against intruders. Therefore, stingless bees utilize a combination of defences that may help to deter ants as potential predators inside and outside the nest.

Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Apicultural Research
Series Name: Journal of Apicultural Research
Volume: 47
Number: 1
Divisions: 10 Department of Biology
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10 Department of Biology > Synthetic Ecological Networks
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2011 12:58
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