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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.)

Intraspecific queen parasitism in a highly eusocial bee

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Wenseleers, Tom [1] ; Alves, Denise A. [2] ; Francoy, Tiago M. [3] ; Billen, Johan [1] ; Imperatriz-Fonseca, Vera L. [2]
Total Authors: 5
[1] Catholic Univ Louvain, Inst Zool, Entomol Lab, B-3000 Leuven - Belgium
[2] Univ Sao Paulo, Bee Lab, Biosci Inst, BR-05508900 Sao Paulo - Brazil
[3] Univ Sao Paulo, Sch Arts Sci & Humanities, BR-03828000 Sao Paulo - Brazil
Total Affiliations: 3
Document type: Journal article
Source: BIOLOGY LETTERS; v. 7, n. 2, p. 173-176, APR 23 2011.
Web of Science Citations: 20

Insect societies are well-known for their advanced cooperation, but their colonies are also vulnerable to reproductive parasitism. Here, we present a novel example of an intra-specific social parasitism in a highly eusocial bee, the stingless bee Melipona scutellaris. In particular, we provide genetic evidence which shows that, upon loss of the mother queen, many colonies are invaded by unrelated queens that fly in from unrelated hives nearby. The reasons for the occurrence of this surprising form of social parasitism may be linked to the fact that unlike honeybees, Melipona bees produce new queens in great excess of colony needs, and that this exerts much greater selection on queens to seek alternative reproductive options, such as by taking over other nests. Overall, our results are the first to demonstrate that queens in highly eusocial bees can found colonies not only via supersedure or swarming, but also by infiltrating and taking over other unrelated nests. (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: 05/58093-8 - Reproductive strategies in Melipona, with emphasis in small populations of Melipona scutellaris (Apidae, Meliponini)
Grantee:Denise de Araujo Alves
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)