Differential distribution of resources for females on a dioecious plant affects the small–scale distribution of male of an oligolectic bee

Polidori, C.  Federici, M. 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2019.42.0267

Abstract

Females of the solitary digger bee Andrena florea Fabricius, 1793 (Hymenoptera, Andrenidae) nest in aggregations and collect pollen almost exclusively on dioecious plants of the genus Bryonia, making this species a good model to study the relationship between nest density, male density, male behaviour and female lecty. At a study site in the valley of the river Serio, in Italy, an aggregation of this bee showed low density of randomly distributed nests and was closely surrounded by B. dioica plants. Female nectar foraging and male feeding and mate–searching activity, confined to the host plants, peaked at similar hours across the day, while female pollen foraging peaked earlier. Males fed on plants of both sexes but seemed to perch waiting for females more frequently on male B. dioica leaves. Individual males more often visited only one of the male plants, for up to four days; here they did not interact aggressively with conspecifics, suggesting scramble competition in resource–based home ranges and not territoriality. These findings are preliminarily in accordance with the predicted resource–based rendez–vous sites at low nest density for oligolectic bees and the predicted occurrence of scramble competition in case of high male density. Additionally, males would maximize their mating opportunity by mainly perching on male plants, the only source of the most limited resource for females (pollen).

Key words

Mating strategy, Digger bee, Dioecious plant, Bryonia, Andrena, Andrenidae

Reception date: 30 X 18  |   Acceptation date: 04 III 19  |   Publication date: 05 VI 19

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