A scientific note on the presence of functional tibia for pollen transportation in the robber bee Lestrimelitta limao Smith (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini)


  • Lucas Garcia von Zuben Departamento de Biologia, FFCLRP, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.
  • Túlio Marcos Nunes NPPNS, Departamento de Física e Química, FCFRP, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil




Meliponini, Cleptoparasitism, corbicula


Stingless bees belonging to the Lestrimelitta genus shows a unique foraging ecology for the group. Instead of collecting food from flowers, these bees steal their food from other stingless bees’ hives. Associated with this ecological feature there are morphological characteristics such as the modification of the corbicula. The highly modified corbicula is considered not functional in this specie. However, observations of the pillaging attacks under controlled environment allowed us to verify workers carrying pollen at the corbicula. This observation contradicts the current assumption that robber bees’ corbicula have lost their function as a result of the cleptoparasitic behaviour.


Kerr, W. E. (1951). Bases para o estudo da genética de populações dos Hymenoptera em geral e dos Apinae sociais em particular. An Esc Super Agric Luiz de Queiroz, 8: 219-354.

Menezes, C., Vollet Neto, A., & Imperatriz Fonseca, V. L. (2012). A method for harvesting unfermented pollen from stingless bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponini). J Apicult Res, 51(3): 240. DOI:10.3896/IBRA.

Michener, C. D. (2000). The bees of the world (Vol. 1). Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Nogueira-Neto, P. (1954). Notas bionômicas sobre meliponíneos: III – Sobre a enxameagem. Arq Mus Nac, l42: 419–451.

Nogueira-Neto, P. (1970) Behavior problems related to the pillages made by some parasitic stingless bees (Meliponinae, Apidae). Development and evolution of behavior: Essays in memory of TC Schneirla, 416-434.

Roubik, D.W. (1989) Ecology and natural history of tropical bees. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1126/ science.248.4958.1026

Sakagami, S. F., & Laroca, S. (1963). Additional Observations on the Habits of the Cleptobiotic Stingless Bees, the Genus Lestrimelitta Friese (Hymenoptera, Apoidea). J. Fac. Sci. Hokkaido Univ Series Zoology, 15(2): 319-339.

Sakagami, S. F., Roubik, D. W., & Zucchi, R. (1993). Ethology of the robber stingless bee, Lestrimelitta limao (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Sociobiology, 21: 237–277

Wille A. (1983) Biology of the stingless bees. Annu Rev Entomol, 28: 41-64. DOI: 10.1146/annurev. en.28.010183.000353

Zucchi, R., Silva-Matos, E. D., Nogueira Ferreira, F. H., & Garcia Azevedo, G. (1999). On the cell provisioning and oviposition process (POP) of the stingless bees-nomenclature reappraisal and evolutionary considerations (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponinae). Sociobiology, 34(1): 65-86.




How to Cite

von Zuben, L. G., & Nunes, T. M. (2014). A scientific note on the presence of functional tibia for pollen transportation in the robber bee Lestrimelitta limao Smith (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini). Sociobiology, 61(4), 570–572. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v61i4.570-572



Short Note

Most read articles by the same author(s)