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Intraspecific social parasitism as a reproductive strategy in stingless bees (Apidae, Meliponini)

Grant number: 10/19717-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2011
Effective date (End): November 30, 2013
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Animal Behavior
Principal researcher:Fábio Santos do Nascimento
Grantee:Denise de Araujo Alves
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:10/10027-5 - Behavioural mediation, chemical signalisation and physiological aspects regulating the social organization in hymenopterans, AP.JP

Abstract

Insect societies are well-known for their high degree of cooperation, but their colonies can also be exploited by intraspecific social parasites. When these "cheaters" do not have direct reproductive options in their natal nest, they seek for reproductive opportunities in other, unrelated colonies. Thus, their brood is reared by unrelated individuals, and the costs are carried by these resident workers. The aim of this project is to investigate the evolutionary conseuqences of the intraspecific social parasitism by reproductive workers and queens in the stingless bees, as well as the proximate mechanisms social parasites have evolved to circumvent the mechanisms that colonies evolved to protect themselves from being exploited. As model systems, we will study Melipona quadrifasciata, M. scutellaris e Scaptotrigona depilis. Five questions are posed: Can reproductive workers succeed in entering unrelated colonies? If the reproductive workers can succeed in entering unrelated colonies, do they prefer to joy a queenright or queenless colony nearby? Given that queens infiltrate and take over other unrelated nests, is there a positive relation between the proportion of reared queen and the number of queens that leave the hives? Is social parasitism by queens linked exclusively to species that produce queens in great excess? Have queens managed to circumvent the mechanisms evolved by the colonies to ensure protection from being exploited? To answer these questions we will use an approach focusing on the biological information available for the chosen species to test the hypotheses using behavioural observations, molecular biology and chemical ecology techniques. We believe that our results will be of interest to the scientific community that work with behavioural ecology, particularly those ones interested in the origin and evolution of social behaviour. (AU)

Matéria(s) publicada(s) na Revista Pesquisa FAPESP sobre a bolsa::
Una intrusa entre las abejas 
Stranger in the nest 
Una intrusa entre las abejas 
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship:
Articles published in other media outlets (0 total):
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VEICULO: TITULO (DATA)

Scientific publications (7)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
OLIVEIRA, RICARDO CALIARI; OI, CINTIA AKEMI; CASTRO DO NASCIMENTO, MAURICIO MEIRELLES; VOLLET-NETO, AYRTON; ALVES, DENISE ARAUJO; CAMPOS, MARIA CLAUDIA; NASCIMENTO, FABIO; WENSELEERS, TOM. The origin and evolution of queen and fertility signals in Corbiculate bees. BMC Evolutionary Biology, v. 15, NOV 16 2015. Web of Science Citations: 13.
VOLLET-NETO, AYRTON; DOS SANTOS, CHARLES FERNANDO; SANTIAGO, LEANDRO RODRIGUES; ALVES, DENISE DE ARAUJO; DE FIGUEIREDO, JULIA PINHEIRO; NANZER, MARINO; ARIAS, MARIA CRISTINA; IMPERATRIZ-FONSECA, VERA LUCIA. Diploid males of Scaptotrigona depilis are able to join reproductive aggregations (Apidae, Meliponini). JOURNAL OF HYMENOPTERA RESEARCH, v. 45, p. 125-130, 2015. Web of Science Citations: 4.
JAFFE, RODOLFO; PIOKER-HARA, FABIANA C.; DOS SANTOS, CHARLES F.; SANTIAGO, LEANDRO R.; ALVES, DENISE A.; KLEINERT, ASTRID DE M. P.; FRANCOY, TIAGO M.; ARIAS, MARIA C.; IMPERATRIZ-FONSECA, VERA L. Monogamy in large bee societies: a stingless paradox. NATURWISSENSCHAFTEN, v. 101, n. 3, p. 261-264, MAR 2014. Web of Science Citations: 16.
WENSELEERS, TOM; HELANTERA, HEIKKI; ALVES, DENISE A.; DUENEZ-GUZMAN, EDGAR; PAMILO, PEKKA. Towards greater realism in inclusive fitness models: the case of worker reproduction in insect societies. BIOLOGY LETTERS, v. 9, n. 6 DEC 23 2013. Web of Science Citations: 11.
VAN OYSTAEYEN, ANNETTE; ALVES, DENISE ARAUJO; OLIVEIRA, RICARDO CALIARI; DO NASCIMENTO, DANIELA LIMA; DO NASCIMENTO, FABIO SANTOS; BILLEN, JOHAN; WENSELEERS, TOM. Sneaky queens in Melipona bees selectively detect and infiltrate queenless colonies. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, v. 86, n. 3, p. 603-609, SEP 2013. Web of Science Citations: 9.
KAERCHER, MARTIN H.; MENEZES, CRISTIANO; ALVES, DENISE A.; BEVERIDGE, OLIVER S.; IMPERATRIZ-FONSECA, VERA-LUCIA; RATNIEKS, FRANCIS L. W. Factors influencing survival duration and choice of virgin queens in the stingless bee Melipona quadrifasciata. NATURWISSENSCHAFTEN, v. 100, n. 6, p. 571-580, JUN 2013. Web of Science Citations: 4.
JONES, SAM M.; VAN ZWEDEN, JELLE S.; GRUETER, CHRISTOPH; MENEZES, CRISTIANO; ALVES, DENISE A.; NUNES-SILVA, PATRICIA; CZACZKES, TOMER; IMPERATRIZ-FONSECA, VERA L.; RATNIEKS, FRANCIS L. W. The role of wax and resin in the nestmate recognition system of a stingless bee, Tetragonisca angustula. BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY, v. 66, n. 1, p. 1-12, JAN 2012. Web of Science Citations: 16.

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