A Study on Intraspecific Resource Partitioning in the Stingless Bee Scaptotrigona Mexicana Guérin (Apidae, Meliponini) Using Behavioral and Molecular Techniques

Neotrop Entomol. 2016 Oct;45(5):518-523. doi: 10.1007/s13744-016-0404-z. Epub 2016 May 19.

Abstract

As a general rule, within an ecological guild, there is one species that is dominant and is commonly the most abundant. The aim of this work was to investigate if such pattern occurs intraspecifically, among colonies of the stingless bee Scaptotrigona mexicana Guérin. Through behavioral and molecular techniques, we found preliminary evidence that apparently colonies of this species do not monopolize resources, instead they seem to share food; however, some colonies had more foragers in a food patch or in a feeder, so some type of exclusion could be at work, though we could not determine the final output of such interaction, i.e., if underrepresented colonies were eventually excluded, developed slower or were overrepresented in other food patches. Our results give evidence that resource partitioning within this species occurs peacefully; however, further studies are necessary to determine if threatening behavior or aggressions appear when resources are scarce and competition becomes harsher.

Keywords: Competition; bee training; feeders; meliponine; microsatellite markers.

MeSH terms

  • Aggression
  • Animals
  • Bees*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Food