2011
DOI: 10.1590/s1519-566x2011000100008
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The Natural History of Nest Defence in a Stingless Bee, Tetragonisca angustula (Latreille) (Hymenoptera: Apidae), with Two Distinct Types of Entrance Guards

Abstract: The stingless bee Tetragonsica angustula (Latreille) is the only social bee known that has two different types of nest entrance guards. As in other stingless bees and the honey bee one type stands on, in or near the nest entrance. The second type, so far only known in T. angustula, hovers near the nest entrance. In order to gain further understanding of this unique situation we studied guarding behaviour in both types of guards. Using marked bees, we found that individual worker bees guarded for a long time, u… Show more

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Cited by 54 publications
(44 citation statements)
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“…Taken together with the results of previous studies showing long-term guarding persistence by individuals of up to 20 d (15) and exceptional ability to detect both conspecific (14,35) and heterospecific intruders (16), our findings demonstrate that Jataí is unparalleled in social bees in terms of the behavioral and morphological specialization of its guards, and thus that there is no fundamental reason preventing the evolution of physical worker subcastes in bees. However, the flying lifestyle of workers (5), developmental constraints (6), or the rearing of brood in hexagonal cells might set an upper limit of worker size polymorphism that prevents extreme polymorphism, as found in, for example, the leafcutter ants Atta.…”
Section: Discussionsupporting
confidence: 87%
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“…Taken together with the results of previous studies showing long-term guarding persistence by individuals of up to 20 d (15) and exceptional ability to detect both conspecific (14,35) and heterospecific intruders (16), our findings demonstrate that Jataí is unparalleled in social bees in terms of the behavioral and morphological specialization of its guards, and thus that there is no fundamental reason preventing the evolution of physical worker subcastes in bees. However, the flying lifestyle of workers (5), developmental constraints (6), or the rearing of brood in hexagonal cells might set an upper limit of worker size polymorphism that prevents extreme polymorphism, as found in, for example, the leafcutter ants Atta.…”
Section: Discussionsupporting
confidence: 87%
“…Wilson (22) argued that the degree of behavioral specialization of the soldier caste is negatively correlated with the number of soldiers in a colony; in support of this argument, the proportion of soldiers was found to be positively correlated with the number of tasks that the soldiers perform in Pheidole ants (23). This also fits with data showing that Jataí guards have considerable fidelity to guarding (15).…”
Section: Discussionsupporting
confidence: 55%
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“…Unlike other synanthropic stingless bee species, such as some in the genera Partamona Schwarz and Scaptotrigona Moure, that aggressively attack human or large vertebrate intruders, workers of T. angustula usually retreat inside the nest (e.g., Nates-Parra & Cepeda, 1983). However, T. angustula is known for its sophisticated defense system against robber bees of the genus Lestrimelitta Friese, which involves two complementary, morphologically specialized groups of guards (e.g., Grüter et al, 2011;Grüter et al, 2012). Honey, pollen, and wax of T. angustula are highly valued in many regions across Latin America because of their attributed medicinal properties (e.g., Nates-Parra, 2005; Ayala et al, 2013).…”
Section: Journal Of Melittologymentioning
confidence: 99%