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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

A Brazilian Social Bee Must Cultivate Fungus to Survive

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Menezes, Cristiano [1, 2, 3] ; Vollet-Neto, Ayrton [1] ; Marsaioli, Anita Jocelyne [4] ; Zampieri, Davila [4] ; Fontoura, Isabela Cardoso [5] ; Luchessi, Augusto Ducati [5] ; Imperatriz-Fonseca, Vera Lucia [6, 1]
Total Authors: 7
[1] Univ Sao Paulo, Fac Philosophy Sci & Languages Ribeirao Preto, BR-14040901 Ribeirao Preto, SP - Brazil
[2] Brazilian Agr Res Corp, Embrapa Amazonia Oriental, BR-66095100 Belem, PA - Brazil
[3] Brazilian Agr Res Corp, Embrapa Meio Ambiente, BR-13820000 Jaguariuna, SP - Brazil
[4] Univ Estadual Campinas, Inst Chem, BR-13083970 Campinas, SP - Brazil
[5] Univ Estadual Campinas, Sch Appl Sci, Biotechnol Lab, BR-13484350 Limeira, SP - Brazil
[6] Vale Inst Technol, BR-66055090 Belem, PA - Brazil
Total Affiliations: 6
Document type: Journal article
Source: Current Biology; v. 25, n. 21, p. 2851-2855, NOV 2 2015.
Web of Science Citations: 19

The nests of social insects provide suitable microenvironments for many microorganisms as they offer stable environmental conditions and a rich source of food {[}1-4]. Microorganisms in turn may provide several benefits to their hosts, such as nutrients and protection against pathogens {[}1, 4-6]. Several examples of symbiosis between social insects and microorganisms have been found in ants and termites. These symbioses have driven the evolution of complex behaviors and nest structures associated with the culturing of the symbiotic microorganisms {[}5, 7, 8]. However, while much is known about these relationships in many species of ants and termites, symbiotic relationships between microorganisms and social bees have been poorly explored {[}3, 4, 9, 10]. Here, we report the first case of an obligatory relationship between the Brazilian stingless bee Scaptotrigona depilis and a fungus of the genus Monascus (Ascomycotina). Fungal mycelia growing on the provisioned food inside the brood cell are eaten by the larva. Larvae reared in vitro on sterilized larval food supplemented with fungal mycelia had a much higher survival rate (76%) compared to larvae reared under identical conditions but without fungal mycelia (8% survival). The fungus was found to originate from the material from which the brood cells are made. Since the bees recycle and transport this material between nests, fungus would be transferred to newly built cells and also to newly founded nests. This is the first report of a fungus cultivation mutualism in a social bee. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 04/15801-0 - Biodiversity and sustainable use of pollinators, with emphasis on Meliponini bees
Grantee:Vera Lucia Imperatriz-Fonseca
Support type: BIOTA-FAPESP Program - Thematic Grants
FAPESP's process: 07/50218-1 - Queen rearing and colony multiplication of stingless bees
Grantee:Cristiano Menezes
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)