The Life Histories of the "Uruçu Amarela" Males (Melipona flavolineata, Apidae, Meliponini)

Jamille Costa Veiga, Kamila Leão Leão, Beatriz Woiski Coelho, Ana Carolina Martins de Queiroz, Cristiano Menezes, Felipe Andrés León Contrera


Here we describe the life histories of adult males of the the Amazonian stingless bee Melipona flavolineata Friese, commonly known as “uruçu amarela”. Males reach sexual maturity inside nests, presenting seminal vesicles full of sperm cells and becoming able to fl y at a mean age of 10 and 15 days, respectively. They aggregate twice in their lives, once before leaving the nest, and another at external congregation sites, by using their capacity to reach congregation sites dependent on morphological attributes, such as large eyes and elongated thorax. Furthermore, we describe three atypical phenomena for Meliponini males: M. fl avolineata males have dimorphic color pattern; they lose their genital capsules, even when they fail to copulate; and penisless (sterile) males can stay alive for up to two days. The life history strategies of Meliponini males have only just started to be told and provide many interesting questions for future studies.


Congregation sites; stingless bees; sterile males; dimorphism

Full Text:



Engels, W. & Imperatriz-Fonseca, V. L. (1990). Caste development, reproductive strategies, and control of fertility in honey bees and stingless bees. In: (Engels, W.), Social Insects (pp. 167–230). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Jaffé, R. & Moritz, R. F. A. (2010). Mating flights select for symmetry in honeybee drones (Apis mellifera). Naturwissenschaften, 97:337–343. doi: 10.1007/s00114-009-0638-2

Kerr, W. E., Zucchi, R., Nakadaira, J. T. & Butolo, J. E. (1962). Reproduction in the social bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Journal of the New York Entomological Society, 70:265–276.

Koffler, S., Meneses, H. M., Kleinert, A. de M. P. & Jaffé, R. (2016). Competitive males have higher quality sperm in a monogamous social bee. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 16:195. doi:10.1186/s12862-016-0765-2

Nogueira-Neto, P. (1954). Notas bionômicas sobre meliponíneos: III–Sobre a enxameagem. Arquivos do Museu Nacional, 42:419-451.

Paxton, R. J. (2005). Male mating behaviour and mating systems of bees: an overview. Apidologie, 36:145–156. doi: 10.1051/apido:2005007

Pereboom , J. J. M. & Biesmeijer, J. C. (2003). Thermal constraints for stingless bee foragers: the importance of body size and coloration. Oecologia, 42–50. doi: 10.1007/s00442-003-1324-2

Santos, C. F., Menezes, C., Vollet-Neto, A. & Imperatriz-Fonseca, V. L. (2014). Congregation sites and sleeping roost of male stingless bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini). Sociobiology, 61:115–118. doi: 10.13102/sociobiology.v61i1.115-11

Schorkopf, D. L. (2016). Male meliponine bees (Scaptotrigona aff. depilis) produce alarm pheromones to which workers respond with fight and males with flight. Journal of Comparative Physiology. A, Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology, 202:667–678. doi: 10.1007/s00359-016-1109-9

Sommeijer, M. J. & Bruijn, L. L. M. de (1995). Drone congregations apart from the nest in Melipona favosa. Insectes Sociaux, 42:123–127. doi: 10.1007/BF01242448

Van Veen, J. W., Sommeijer, M. J. & Meeuwsen, F. (1997). Behaviour of drones in Melipona (Apidae, Meliponinae). Insectes Sociaux, 44:435–447. doi: 10.1007/s000400050063

Veiga, J. C., Menezes, C. & Contrera, F. A. L. (2017). Insights into the role of age and social interactions on the sexual attractiveness of queens in an eusocial bee, Melipona flavolineata (Apidae, Meliponini). Naturwissenschaften, 104(3-4):31. doi: 10.1007/s00114-017-1450-z



  • There are currently no refbacks.

JCR Impact Factor 2018: 0.604