Differences of the Daily Flight Activity Rhythm in two Neotropical Stingless Bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae)


  • Monique Sian Gouw Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana
  • Miriam Gimenes Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana




Biological rhythm, Meliponini, Melipona scutellaris, Frieseomelitta doederleini,


Stingless bees are mainly tropical and subtropical, eusocial bees and perform activities that are both internal and external to the nest. This study aims to investigate and compare the daily flight activities of Melipona scutellaris Latreille and Frieseomelitta doederleini (Friese). The daily flight activities of the two Meliponini species was regular for both initial and final activities and for preferential time of activity throughout the months, which may indicate the presence of a biological rhythm synchronized by the daily light-dark cycle. Temperature, light intensity and relative humidity probably influenced the rhythms of activity during the day, in a way that may act as a modulator of bee rhythms. M. scutellaris was the larger and darker bees and showed earlier activities and in lower temperatures when compared to F. doederleini, which were smaller bees.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Monique Sian Gouw, Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana

Departamento de Ciências Biológicas

Miriam Gimenes, Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana

Departamento de Ciências Biológicas


Almeida, G.F. (2004). Estudo de componentes rítmicos detectados na colônia de Frieseomelitta varia (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponini). MSc Dissertation. Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil.

Batschelet, E. (1980). Circular Statistics in Biology. London: Academic Press.

Bellusci, S. & Marques, M.D. (2001). Circadian activity rhythm of the foragers of a eusocial bee (Scaptotrigona aff depilis, Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponinae) outside the nest. Biol. Rhythm Res., 32: 117-124.

Biesmeijer, J.C., van Nieuwstadt, M.G.L., Lukács, S. & Sommeijer, M.J. (1998). The role of internal and external information in foraging decisions of Melipona workers (Hymenoptera: Meliponinae). Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 42: 107-116.

Biesmeijer, J.C. & Pereboom, J.J.M. (2003). Thermal constraints for stingless bee foragers: the importance of body size and coloration. Oecologia, 137: 42-50.

Breed, M.D., Stocker, E.M., Baumgartner, L.K. & Vargas, S. (2002). Time-place learning and the ecology of recruitment in a stingless bee, Trigona amalthea (Hymenoptera, Apidea). Apidologie, 33: 251-258.

Bruijn, L.L.M. & Sommejer, M.J. (1997). Colony foraging in different species of stingless bees (Apidae, Meliponini) and the regulation of individual nectar foraging. Insectes Soc., 44: 35-47.

Cane, l.H. (1987). Estimation of bee size using intertegular span (Apoidea). J. Kans. Entomol. Soc., 60: 145-147.

Corbet, S. A., Fussell, M., Ake, R., Fraser, A., Gunson, C., Savage, A. & Smith, K. (1993). Temperature and pollination activity of social bees. Ecological Entomology, 18: 17-30.

Dunlap, J.C., Loros, J.J. & Decoursey, P.J. (2004). Chronobiology: biological timekeeping. Sunderlands, Massachusetts: Inc. Publishers, Sinauer Associates.

Fidalgo, A.O. & Kleinert, A.M.P. (2007). Foraging behavior of Melipona rufiventris Lepeletier (Apinae; Meliponini) in Ubatuba, SP, Brazil. Braz. J. Biol, 67: 133-140.

Gimenes, M., Benedito-Silva, A.A. & Marques, M.D. (1993). Chronobiologic aspects of a coadaptive process: the interaction of Ludwigia elegans flowers and its more frequent bee visitors. Chronobiol., Int., 10: 20-30.

Gimenes, M., Benedito-Silva, A.A. & Marques, M.D. (1996). Circadian rhythms of pollen and nectar collection by bees on the flowers of Ludwigia elegans (Onagraceae). Biol. Rhythm Res., 27: 281-290.

Heinrich, B. (1993). The hot-blooded insects. Strategies and mechanisms of thermoregulation. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA).

Hilário, S.D., Imperatriz-Fonseca, V.L. & Kleinert, A. (2001). Responses to climatic factors by foragers of Plebeia pugnax Moure (In Litt.) (Apidae, Meliponinae). Rev. Brasil. Biol., 61: 191-196.

Hilário, S.D., Gimenes, M. & Imperatriz-Fonseca, V.L. (2003). The influence of colony size in diel rhythms on flight activity of Melipona bicolor Lepeletier, 1836. In: G. Melo & I. Alves dos Santos (Eds.), Apoidea Neotropica: Homenagem aos 90 anos de Jesus Santiago Moure (pp 191-197). Criciúma: INESC.

Imperatriz-Fonseca, V.L., Kleinert-Giovannini, A. & Pires, J.T. (1985). Climate variations influence on the flight activity of Plebeia remota Holmberg (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponinae). Rev. Brasil. Ent., 29: 427- 434.

Koukkari, W. & Sothern, R. (2006). Introducing biological rhythms. St. Paul: Springer (ed.), College of Biological Sciences.

Lutz, F.E. (1931). Light as a factor in controlling the start of daily activity of a wren and stingless bees. The American Museum of Natural History, 468: 1-4.

Marques, M.D. & Waterhouse, J.M. (1994). Masking and the evolution of circadian rhythmicity. Chronobiol. Int., 11: 146-155.

Merrow, M., Spoelstral, K. & Roenneberg, T. (2005). The circadian cycle: daily rhythms from behavior to genes. EMBO Rep., 6: 930–935.

Michener, C.D. (2000), The bees of the world. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Nascimento D.L. do & Nascimento, F.S. 2012. Extreme Effects of Season on the Foraging Activities and Colony Productivity of a Stingless Bee (Melipona asilvai Moure, 1971) in Northeast Brazil. Psyche 2012, Article ID 267361, doi:10.1155/2012/267361.

Nates-Parra, G. & Rodríguez, C.A. (2011). Forrajeo en colonias de Melipona eburnea (Hymenoptera: Apidae) en el piedemonte llanero (Meta, Colombia). Rev. Colomb. Entom., 37: 121-127.

Nevill, A.M., Teixeira, L.V., Marques, M.D. & Waterhouse, J.M. (2004). Using covariance to unravel the effects of meteorological factors and daily and seasonal rhythms. Biol. Rhythm Res., 35: 159-169.

Nunes-Silva, P., Hilário, S.D., Santos Filho, P.S. & Imperatriz-Fonseca, V.L.I. (2010). Foraging activity in Plebeia remota, a stingless bees specie, is Influenced by the reproductive state of a colony. Psyche, 2010, Article ID 241204, doi:10.1155/2010/2412041-16.

Oda, G.A., Bellusci, S. & Marques, M.D. (2007). Daily rhythms related to distinct social tasks inside an eusocial bee colony. Chronobiol. Int., 24: 845-858.

Pierrot, L.M. & Schlindwein, C. (2003). Variation in daily flight activity and foraging patterns in colonies of urucu (Apidae, Meliponini). Revta Bras. Zool., 20: 565-571.

Roubik, D.W. (1989). Ecology and natural history of tropical bees. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

SEI (2012). Superintendência de estudos econômicos e sociais do Estado da Bahia. Informações Geográficas: Clima e Vegetação. http://.sei.ba.gov.br. Accessed 24 October 2012.

Silva, M. D., Ramalho, M. & Rosa, J. F. (2011). P or que Melipona scutellaris (Hymenoptera, Apidae) forrageia sob alta umidade relativa do ar? Iheringia, Série Zoologia, 101: 131-137.

Souza, B.A., Carvalho, C.A.L. & Alves, R.M.C. (2006). Flight activity of Melipona asilvai (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Braz. J. Biol., 66: 731-737.

Teixeira, L.V. & Campos, F.N.M. (2005). Início da atividade de vôo em abelhas sem ferrão (Hymenoptera, Apidae): influência do tamanho da abelha e da temperatura ambiente. Juiz de Fora (MG). Rev. Bras. Zoo., 7: 195 – 202.

Willmer, P.G. & Stone, G.N. (2004). Behavioral, ecological, and physiological determinants of the activity patterns of bees. Adv. Study Behav., 34: 347-466.




How to Cite

Gouw, M. S., & Gimenes, M. (2013). Differences of the Daily Flight Activity Rhythm in two Neotropical Stingless Bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae). Sociobiology, 60(2), 183–189. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v60i2.183-189



Research Article - Bees