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Abstract Detail

Pollination Biology


Adult solitary bees regularly and actively consume pollen.

Adult solitary bees are well known to forage on nectar, visiting flowers to consume nectar only (males and females) or to both consume nectar and gather pollen for nest provisions (females). Evidence of pollen feeding by adult solitary bees is fragmentary, with some studies suggesting that nesting females make special "feeding" trips to consume pollen to sustain themselves and produce eggs. Clear documentation of pollen feeding requires that bees be dissected to reveal pollen contents in the different regions of the digestive tract. In a recent study of the alkali bee, Nomia melanderi (Halictidae), findings indicate that adult females feed daily and extensively on pollen (filling their crop), and do so across the duration of their flight season. Follow-up parallel studies of pollen feeding in females of other bees, including two European oligolectic species (Chelostoma florisomne and C. rapunculi, Megachilidae), suggest that active pollen feeding is a widespread phenomenon in adult solitary bees. Furthermore, this pollen consumption is not limited to females: a survey of adult male bees in seven species shows that they also feed on pollen, but to a lesser extent than females. Bee species vary in the flow of pollen along the digestive tract and whether pollen accumulates in the crop or passes directly into the midgut. The adaptive significance of this variation may lie in the nesting biology of the bees. The active consumption of pollen by adult solitary bees has implications on both the numbers of bees that can be sustained on agricultural crops and measures of the potential exposure of bees to systemic insecticides present in pollen.

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1 - WHITMAN COLLEGE, Department Of Biology, 345 BOYER AVE., WALLA WALLA, WA, 99362, USA

flower rewards
solitary bee.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 32
Location: Firs South/Boise Centre
Date: Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
Time: 10:30 AM
Number: 32010
Abstract ID:497
Candidate for Awards:None

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