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The effect of toxic nectar and pollen from Spathodea campanulata on the worker survival of Melipona fasciculata Smith and Melipona seminigra Friese, two Amazonian stingless bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini)
Abstract and Figures
Spathodea campanulata is an African plant introduced into South America and other tropical and subtropical areas for ornamental purposes. This plant has been linked to insect mortality, bees included. However, its effects on the Neotropical Melipona are as yet unknown. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of S. campanulata nectar and pollen on the survival of Melipona fasciculata Smith and Melipona seminigra Friese workers. A total of 120 newly emerged workers of each species were divided into groups of 10 individuals and confined in boxes. They were submitted to the following diet treatments: S. campanulata nectar or 11% sucrose solution (nectar control); 11% sucrose solution and S. campanulata pollen or 11% sucrose solution and the species’ original pollen (pollen control). A higher mortality of workers was detected in the groups fed with toxics nectar and pollen (M. fasciculata, p<0.01; M. seminigra, p<0.01) than on the respective controls. Our results demonstrate that nectar and pollen from S. campanulata affected the survival of M. fasciculata and M. seminigra worker bees. We thus recommend that S. campanulata should not be provided as food source for stingless bees.
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