The effect of toxic nectar and pollen from Spathodea campanulata on the worker survival of Melipona fasciculata Smith and Melipona seminigra Friese, two Amazonian stingless bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini)

Ana Carolina Martins Queiroz, Felipe Andrés Leon Contrera, Giorgio Cristino Venturieri


Spathodea campanulata is an African plant of African origin introduced in South America and other tropical and subtropical areas for ornamental purposes. This plant is related to insect mortality, bees included. However, its effects on the Neotropical Melipona are yet unknown. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the effect of S. campanulata nectar and pollen on the survival of Melipona fasciculata and M. seminigra workers. A total of 120 newly emerged workers of each species were confined in boxes, without the presence of the queen, and divided in groups of 10 individuals. They were submitted to the following diets: S. campanulata nectar or 11% sucrose solution (nectar control); 11% sucrose solution and S. campanulata pollen or 11% sucrose solution and the species’ original pollen (pollen control). The higher mortality of workers was detected on the experimental groups, with toxics nectar and pollen (M. fasciculata, p<0.01; M. seminigra, p<0.01) than on the respective controls. Our results point that nectar and pollen affected the survival of M. fasciculata and M. seminigra worker bees. Thus, S. campanulata is not a recommended plant to provide food resources for stingless bees.  


meliponine bees, plant toxicity, survival, meliponiculture

Full Text:



Adler, L.S. (2000). The ecological significance of toxic nectar. Oikos, 91:409-420. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0706.2000.910301.x

Barker, R.J. (1990). Poisoning by plants. London: Cornell University Press, p.309-315.

Bueno, O.C., Hebling-Beraldo, M.J., Aulino-Silva, O., Pagnocca, F., Fernandez, J.B. & Vieira, P.C. (1990). Toxic effect of plants on leaf-cutting ants and their symbiotic fungus. In R.K. Jaffe & K.A. Cedeno (Eds), Applied Myrmecology: a world perspective (pp 420-426). San Francisco: Westview Press.

Calligaris, I.B. (2001). Toxicidade do néctar e do pólen de Spathodea campanulata (Bignoneaceae) sobre operárias de Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae) e Scaptotrigona postica (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Dissertation, Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho

Camargo, J.M.F. & Pedro, S.R.M. (2012). Meliponini Lepeletier, 1836. In J.S. Moure, D. Urban & G.A.R. Melo (Orgs) Catalogue of Bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea) in the Neotropical Region - online version. (accessed date 27 August, 2013).

Carvalho, A.C.P. & Message, D. (2004). A scientific note on the toxic pollen of Stryphnodendron polyphyllum (Fabaceae, Mimosoideae) which causes sacbrood-like symptoms. Apidologie, 35:89-90. doi: 10.1051/apido:2003059

Cintra P., Malaspina, O. & Bueno, O.C. (2005). Plantas tóxicas para abelhas. Arq. Inst. Biol., 72:547-551. Retrived from:

Contrera, F.A.L., Menezes, C. & Venturieri, G.C. (2011). New horizons on stingless beekeeping (Apidae, Meliponini). Rev. Bras. Zootec., 40(suppl. esp.): 48-51.

Costa, L. & Venturieri, G.C. (2009). Diet impacts on Melipona flavolineata workers (Apidae, Meliponini). J. Apic. Res., 48(1): 38-45. doi: 10.3896/IBRA.

Crawley, M.J. (2007). The R book. Wiley & Sons Ltd, West Sussex, 1051p.

Endress, P.K. (1994). Diversity and evolutionary biology of tropical flowers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 511p.

Erdtman, G. (1960). The acetolysis method. A revised description. Sven. Bot. Tidskr., 54:561-564.

Francis, J.K. (1990). African tulip tree (Spathodea campanulata Beauv.) Res. Note SO-ITF-SM-32. (acessed date 1 february, 2013).

Johnson, S.D., Hargreaves, A.L. & Brown, M. (2006). Dark, bitter-tasting nectar functions as a filter of flower visitors in a bird-pollinated plant. Ecology, 87: 2709–2716. Retrived from:

Levin, D.A. (1976). The chemical defenses of plants to pathogens and herbivores. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 7:121-159. Retrived from:

Modro, A.F.H., Message, D., Luz, C.F.P., Meira-Neto, J.A.A. (2011). Flora de importância polinífera para Apis mellifera (L.) na região de Viçosa, MG. Rev. Árvore, 35: 1145-1153. doi:10.1590/S0100-67622011000600020.

Nogueira- Neto, P. (1970). A criação de abelhas indígenas sem ferrão (Meliponinae). São Paulo: Ed. Tecnapis, 365p.

Oliveira, R.M., Giannotti, E., Machado, V.L.L. (1991). Visitantes florais de Spathodea campanulata Beauv. (Bignoniaceae). Bioikos, 5:7-30.

Ott, J. (1988). The delphic bee: bees and toxic honeys as pointers to psychoactive and other medicinal plants. Econ. Bot., 52 (3): 260-266. Retrived from:

Portugal-Araújo, V. (1963). O perigo de dispersão da tulipeira do gabão (Spathodea campanulata Beauv.). Chácaras e quintais, 107: 562.

Rangaiah, K., Rao, P.S., Raju, A.J.S. (2004). Bird-pollination and fruiting phenology in Spathodea campanulata Beauv. (Bignoniaceae). Beitr. Biol. Pflanz., 73(3):395-408.

Roubik, D.W. (1989) Ecology and Natural History of Tropical Bees. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Santoro, K.R., Vieira, M.E.Q., Queiroz, M.L., Queiroz, M.C. &

Barbosa, S.B.P. (2004). Efeito do tanino de Stryphnodendron spp. sobre a longevidade de abelhas Apis mellifera L. Arch. Zootec., 53:281-291. Retrived from:

Trigo, J.R. & Santos, W.F. (2000). Insect mortality in Spathodea campanulata Beauv. (Bignoniaceae) flowers. Rev. Bras. Biol., 60:537-8. Retrived from:

Venturieri, G.C., Alves, D.A., Villas-Boas, J.K., Carvalho, C.A.L., Menezes, C., Vollet-Neto, A., Contrera, F.A.L., Cortopassi-Laurino, M., Nogueira-Neto, P. & Imperatriz-Fonseca, V.L. (2012). Meliponicultura no Brasil: situação atual e perspectivas futuras para uso na polinização agrícola. In: V.L. Imperatriz-Fonseca, D.A.L. Canhos, D.A. Alves & A.M. Saraiva (Orgs.)., Contribuição e perspectivas para a biodiversidade, uso sustentável, conservação e serviços ambientais (pp.213-236). São Paulo: Edusp.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

JCR Impact Factor 2016: 0.699