Special Issue on Stingless bees: Integrating basic biology and conservation
Keywords:stingless bees, management of bees, conservation
It is easy to see why stingless bees (Meliponini) were chosen for this special issue, entitled Stingless bees: Integrating basic biology and conservation. Interest in these bees is increasing each day, with their role as ecosystem
services providers in the pollination of wild and cultivated plants, and their fascinating biology and social behavior. Yet, despite having been kept by the Native Americans for hundreds of years for their honey, they remain much understudied compared to their better known relatives, the bumblebees and honeybees. This is in part due to their massive biodiversity, with known species now numbering over 500 – all with a tropical distribution. The diversity and rich social behavior of the stingless bees has often been compared to the knowledge of the other group of eusocial bees, including the bumblebees (Bombini) and honeybees (Apini). Yet, the development of new scientific techniques and research methods, and progress in deciphering their phylogeny, now allows for an updated interpretation of the evolution, biology and conservation of Meliponini bees.
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