Social Information in the Stingless Bee, Trigona corvina Cockerell (Hymenoptera: Apidae): The Use of Visual and Olfactory Cues at the Food Site

Frank Max Joseph Sommerlandt, Werner Huber, Johannes Spaethe


For social insects, colony performance is largely dependent on the quantity and quality of food intake and thus on the efficiency of its foragers. In addition to innate preferences and previous experience, foragers can use social information to decide when and where to forage. In some stingless bee (Meliponini) species, individual foraging decisions are shown to be influenced by the presence of social information at resource sites. In dual choice tests, we studied whether visual and/or olfactory cues affect individual decision-making in rigona corvina Cockerell and if this information is species-specific. We found that T. corvina foragers possess local enhancement: they are attracted by olfactory and visual cues released by conspecifics but avoid feeders associated with heterospecific individuals of the species Tetragona ziegleri (Friese). Overall, olfactory cues seem to be more important than visual cues, but information by visual cues alone is sufficient for discrimination.


communication; odor marks; visual cues; recruitment, local enhancement

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