Patterns of Diversity and Distribution of Arboreal Social Bees’ Beehives within Chimpanzees’ Home Range in a Forest-Savanna Mosaic (Comoé National Park, Côte d’Ivoire)

Angele Nicodenin Soro, Juan Lapuente, Abduoulaye Ngolo Kone, Kolo Yeo, Souleymane Konate


The goal of this study was to explain the patterns of diversity and distribution of arboreal social bees nesting in forest habitats of the Comoé National park, within the home-ranges of wild chimpanzees that consume their honey. Investigations were done using a total sixteen plots, one hectare each, established in three habitat types (mature forest island, secondary forest island and gallery forest). The diversity and distribution of arboreal social bees was estimated with visuals searches. The exploitation of the beehives of these bee by the chimpanzees was also evaluated using chimpanzees’ honey dipping tools as indicators. Results revealed five bees’ species belonging to two tribes; Meliponini (Meliponula ferruginea, Meliponula togoensis, Meliponula bocandei, Hypotrigona gribodoi) and Apini (Apis mellifera). Frequent exploitation of the honey of stingless bees by the chimpanzees was observed, except for H. gribodoi. Meliponula ferruginea was the most exploited species by chimpanzees. A total of 114 beehives were found in the overall established plots leading to an estimated density of 2.4 beehives/ha in the study area. Among the surveyed habitats, mature forest island was found to harbor the highest beehive density (4.2 beehives/ha), followed respectively by secondary-forest island (1.9 beehives/ha) and gallery forest (1.1 beehives/ha). Finally, all bee species were found nesting in cavities of trees with a DBH ranging from 15 to 87.3 cm, with a special preference for Dialium guinneense. However, the DBH of nesting trees and beehives’ height, measured from the ground level, did not significantly influence the honey exploitation by chimpanzees. In sum bee species diversity and distribution might be important in the survival of chimpanzees of a forest savanna landscape.


Bee species, honey, chimpanzee, nesting tree, habitat type, Comoé National Park

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