Observation of Trigona recursa Smith (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Feeding on Crotalaria micans Link (Fabaceae: Faboideae) in a Brazilian Savanna Fragment


  • Thiago Mateus Rocha dos Santos Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul
  • Julie Teresa Shapiro Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul
  • Patricia S. Shibuya Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul
  • Camila Aoki Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul – Campus Aquidauna (CPAq) Unidade II




Entomotoxicity, Feeding behavior, Monocrotaline, Stingless bee


In this paper we present observations of individuals of the bee species Trigona recursa feeding on the fruits of Crotalaria micans. This plant, which contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, is known to be toxic to humans, mammals and poultry. Over the course of three days, we observed a large number of bees feeding on many individual Crotalaria micans plants in an urban fragment of Brazilian Savanna. The bees preferred greener fruits, which are the softest and most toxic. Consumption of the plant had no immediately apparent fatal effect on the bees, since we did not find any dead individuals near the observation site. Some insect species are known to use pyrrolizidine and alkaloids for defense by incorporating them into their body or using them as precursors to pheromones. Trigona recursa and other bee species have not been previously recorded consuming Crotalaria micans and it is unclear what their motivation may be. We present these observations as a novel finding of the feeding behavior of Trigona recursa.



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Author Biographies

Julie Teresa Shapiro, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul

Researcher and Fulbright Scholar at the Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul

Camila Aoki, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul – Campus Aquidauna (CPAq) Unidade II

Departamento de Biologia, Professor


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How to Cite

dos Santos, T. M. R., Shapiro, J. T., Shibuya, P. S., & Aoki, C. (2013). Observation of Trigona recursa Smith (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Feeding on Crotalaria micans Link (Fabaceae: Faboideae) in a Brazilian Savanna Fragment. Sociobiology, 60(2), 210–213. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v60i2.210-213



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