n African Entomology - Nest and nestmate recognition cues in a primitively social bee, Lepeletier & Serville (Hymenoptera : Apidae)

Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1021-3589



Nest and nestmate recognition cues were investigated in the primitively social South African allodapine bee, . Nest owners were able to distinguish between resident and non-resident bees, and engaged in significantly more agonistic interactions with non-residents. Combined GC-MS analysis of extract of head extracts showed it to contain a series of fatty acids and long-chain hydrocarbons. The relative abundances of compounds differed between individuals, suggesting that secretions from the head may partially serve as a nestmate recognition cue. Bees were also able to distinguish their nests from conspecific nests. Combined GC-MS of extracts taken from nest collars revealed nest-specific blends of compounds that would facilitate nest identification and discrimination. Recognition of nestmates and the home nest are important precursors to more sophisticated social interactions and communal organization.

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