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Floral Sources for Stingless Bees (Tetragonula iridipennis) in Nellithurai Village, Tamilnadu, India



We documented 45 plant taxa belonging to 29 families and non-floral sources utilized by Tetragonula iridipennis for pollen, nectar and resin. The foragers of T. iridipennis were also found to collect non-floral resources like fruit juice, fruits kept in the market for sales and from falling and damaged mango and jasmine fruits. The mutualistic association between T. iridipennis colonies and Hemipterans was observed and documented. According to pollen analysis, all are appeared to be multifloral honeys. The families Arecaceae and Fabaceae had a significant importance amongst the samples represented by four pollen types. Coconut, Sunflower and Banana pollen types occurred most constantly among the samples. The present palynological analysis of honey samples can provide the accurate depiction of the bee flora in Nellithurai village. The present study to help the beekeepers to know the stingless bee flora and to identify the botanical origins of honey.
Floral Sources for Stingless Bees ( ) in
NellithuraiVillage, Tamilnadu, India
Tetragonula iridipennis
K. Vijayakumar, R. Jeyaraaj
Department of Zoology, Kongu Nadu Arts and Science College,
Coimbatore,Tamil Nadu, India
Key words: Bee flora, Non-f loral sources,
Melissopalynology, Meliponiculture.
Study Area: Nellithurai Village, Tamilnadu, India
Coordinates: 11°16'59.74”N & 76°53'6.24”E
Published by: National Cave Research and Protection Organization, India Vol. 3(2):Online
Year 2016
*Corresponding Author:
ISSN- 2348 5191 (Print) & 2348 8980 (Electronic)
Ambient Science, 2016: Vol. 03(2); Online
We documented 45 plant taxa belonging to 29 families and
non-floral sources utilized by Tetragonula iridipennis for
pollen, nectar and resin. The foragers of T. iridipennis were
also found to collect non-f loral resources like fruit juice,
fruits kept in the market for sales and from falling and
damaged mango and jasmine fruits. The mutualistic
association between T. iridipennis colonies and
Hemipterans was observed and documented. According to
pollen analysis, all are appeared to be multifloral honeys.
The f amilies Arecaceae and Fabaceae had a signif icant
importance amongst the samples represented by four
pollen types. Coconut, Sunflower and Banana pollen types
occurred most constantly among the samples. The present
palynological analysis of honey samples can provide the
accuratedepiction of the bee flora in Nellithurai village. The
present study to help the beekeepers to know the stingless
bee flora and to identify the botanical origins of honey.
Stingless bees comprise a highly diverse and abundant
group of eusocial bees that inhabit the tropical and
subtropical parts of the world. These are the major
biomass component of the nectar and pollen foraging
insect community in many tropical areas. Stingless bees
are effective pollinators of wild and cultivated crops.
According to Kerr (2001), 30-80% of plants are
pollinated by one or more species of stingless bees in their
biomes. In India, Tetragonula iridipennis is widely
distributed and nests in varying substrates, becoming also
abundant in disturbed areas. The coloniesof stinglessbees
make less honey, as compared to other contemporarily
In the tropical regions, there are a variety of trees,
shrubs and agricultural crops that provide pollen and
nectar to the bees. Apis uses large amounts of pollen to
support its brood production and swarming, while the
stingless bees do not often swarm and uses less pollen
(Roubik, 2006 ) . is a gentle species and easily
adjusts to beekeeping used to collect honey or to pollinate
crops (Kumar 2012; Vijayakumar 2013). They are
generalists in their habits and their eff icient pollination
on the tropical flora is remarkable.
Studies have been made in areasharbor different types
et al.
T. iridipennis
et al. et al.
of vegetation such as natural forests, grasslands,
agricultural land, pasture land, orurban areas. Mostof the
methods for obtaining information about bee plants in an
area are based on direct f ield observation of foraging bees
on flowers. Absy & Kerr (1977) using pollen analysis of
honey began the study of stingless bee floral visitation in
the Amazon region, which comprises different forest
types, namely savannas and riversides including human-
disturbed landscapes and urban areas. In Brazil, Oliveira
(2009) demonstrated that stingless bees are using
varity of pollen resources, but they are not commonly
utilized the unique plant species. The analysis of bee plant
pollen loads and palynological analysis of honey samples
can provide the accurate depiction of the bee flora of a
particulararea/landscape (Lakshmi, 2012).
The melissopalynological studies of stingless bee
honey are rare, limited to
and (Absy & Kerr 1977),
sp. aff.
sp., sp. aff.
and (Vit 1994),
(Carvalho , 2001) , (Alves
2006 ), (Flores & Sanchez 2010) ,
and (Vit 2012). In India, signif icant work
et al.
Melipona seminigra merrillae
Melipona rufiventris paraensis
Melipona compressipes, Melipona favosa, Melipona
trinitatis, Frieseomelitta nigra, Frieseomelitta varia,
Plebeia Scaptotrigona depilis , Scaura latitarsis
T. angustula et al. Melipona scutellaris
et al Melipona mandacaia et al.
Tetragonisca angustula
M. favosa et al.
has been carried outby various authors (Ramanujam
1992; Bhargava 2009 & Shilpa & Ratan, 2011).
Melissopalynology of honey has been studied
by Suryanarayana (1966) and Bhargava (2009).
Foraged pollen loads are good indicators of the
surrounding flowering plant species that provide pollen
for the bees. They also indicate availability of dominant
food resources for the different pollinators in an
ecosystem. The purpose of this study has been to use two
different methods to identify the plant species visited
mostfrequentlyby .
The study was carried out in the Nellithurai
village of Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu, India. Field
observations wereconducted between April 2013 to March
2014. In situ identif ication of plants visited by stingless
bee forages wasdone by directobser vationin the f ield. The
bee f loral survey carried out during peak foraging activity
(6.00 am - 6.00 pm). Plant species were considered
attractiveto bees when they were observed to visit by more
than five bees during a particular time interval (10 min).
The identif ication of pollen, nectar and resin foragers
visually based on either pollen or resin load on corbiculae
and honey stomach. The forager bees were caught with
sweep netsand preserved for furtherstudies.
Present melissopalyno-
logical investigation was carried out in 15 different honey
samples collected from different hived colonies of
Tetragonula iridipennis located at Nellithurai village,
Tamil Nadu, India. Pollen slides of honey samples were
prepared using the method of Loureaux et al. (1978) and
acetolysis (Erdtman, 1960). The pollen grains obtained
from honey samples were identified and compared with
the reference slides made from identif ied plants and from
standard works of Erdthman (1960) and Lakshmi (2012).
The absolute pollen count and percentages of pollen types
in each sample were calculated (Lakshmi, 2012) on the
basis of total number of pollen grains counted in each
sample. Samples were observed using light and polarized
The pollen spectra were constructed on the basis
of these percentages. Honeysamples having 45% or more
grains of a single pollen type were termed as “unifloral
honey” and those having several pollen types in
considerable percentage were termed as “multifloral
honey”. Frequencies and frequency classes of the pollen
types were determined in accordance with Louveaux et
al.(1978) and the pollen types were placed under four
pollen frequency classes (Predominant pollen D (Above
45%), Secondary pollen S (16% to 45%), Important minor
pollen - IM (3% to 15%), Minor pollen m (Less than 3%))
recommended by the International Commission for Bee
Botany (ICBB) (Moore & Webb, 1978).
et al.,
et al.,
et al.
T. iridipennis
Study Area:
Melissopalynological study:
Materialsand methods:
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Extra-floral nectarines and non- floral resources:
Melissopalynological study:
Predominant families of flowering plants in the study
area: A total of 45 plant species belonging to 28 families
were recorded. The important flowering families were
Arecaceae and Fabaceae representing the highest
frequency of 4 (8.89% N=45), Cucurbitaceae,
Euphorbiaceae, Poaceae and Solanaceae with frequency
of 3 (6.67% N=67), Lamiaceae and Rutaceae with
frequency of 2 (4.44% N=45) and remaining 20 families
(Amaranthaceae, Anacardiaceae, Apiaceae,
Apocynaceae, Calenduleae, Commelinaceae,
Convolvulaceae, Lythraceae, Malvaceae, Meliaceae,
Moringaceae, Musaceae, Myrtaceae, Nyctaginaceae,
Phyllanthaceae, Portulacaceae, Rubiaceae, Verbenaceae,
Vitaceae and Zygophyllaceae) with frequency of 1 (2.22%
N=45) (Figure: 1).
honeydew produced by sap-sucking Homoptera is an
important resource for a variety of organisms. The
foragers of were also found to collect non-
floral resources like fruit juice, fruits kept in the market
for sales and from falling and damaged mango and
jasmine fruits. Foragersof were alsofound to
collect sugarsap from leaf nectaries (Plate 1a), sugar cane
sap from crushed sugarcane stems (Plate 1b), watermelon
juice and coconut neera. The foragers collected honeydew
actively from papaya mealy bug ( )
(Plate 1c). The forager of collects fresh resin
from falling flowers (Plate 1d) and tree wounds. The
forager of were observed landing on
mealybug assemblages and ingesting excess honeydew
and bees were found to collect the honeydew f rom the
mealy bug in the morning and late afternoon during
investigations carried out on 15 honey samples collected
from hived T. iridipennis colonies and indicated that the
bees were found to forage on 45 pollen types belonging to
29 families for pollen, nectar and resin. The pollen
micrograph was showed in plate 2. During this study, the
pollen samples are taken from 15 hived T. iridipennis
T. iridipennis
T. iridipennis
Paracoccus marginatus
T. iridipennis
T. iridipennis
Ambient Science (2016) Vol.-03(2):online
Figure 1. Important families of floral resources utilized
byT. iridipennis
colonies on April 2013 to March 2014 and were subjected to
Results from the palynological studies show that
stingless bees collect pollen from a wide range of plant
species. Pollen grains of Cocus nucifera, Helianthus
annuls and Musa paradisiaca were identified as a
secondary pollen group. The important minor pollen
groups (IM) and minor pollen groups (m) tabulated in
table 3. Other plants were also visited by are
and . The lowest pollen
frequency of 11 to 20 was noted in
the present study site located near the Nilgiri
Biosphere Reserve locatedwithin the WesternGhats and is
a region having high ecological and sociological
importance (Prabhakar, 1994). Recently, Sasidharan &
Kunhikannan (2010) recorded 113 plant species belonging
to 93 generaand 42 families which associated with bees in
the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. During the study, a total of
45 plant species of 12 families was recorded at the source of
Pollen/nectar/resin for stingless bees ( ). The
plant species found in agricultural f ields are of great
economic importance. Results showed that the stingless
T. iridipennis
Alternanthera sessilis, Tamarindus indica, Helianthus
annuls, Cajanus cajan, Citrus medica.Calotropis
gigantean, Parthenium hysterophorus, Pongamia pinnata,
Azadirachta indica, Aerva tomentosa, Digera muricata,
Evolvulus alsinoides, Mimosa pudica, Jatropha curcas,
Phyllanthus emblica, Capsicum frutescens, Eucalyptus
Soalnum melongena, Mangifera indica, Benincasa hispida,
Prisopis julifera Sorghum halepense
Vitex negundo,
Coriandrum sativum, Tribulus terrestris Pennisetum
T. iridipennis
Floral sources and non f lora sources for stingless
bee-flora consists of mostly timber, medicinal, fruits,
vegetables, ornamentals and other commercially
important plants like pulses, cereals, oil yielding, f iber,
fodder etc. Multivarious of the economic importance of
thebeeplantsmustbe protected.
Honeydew produced by sap-sucking Homoptera
is an important resource for a variety of organisms. In the
present study, the mutualistic association between T.
iridipennis colonies and Hemipterans was observed and
documented. The forager bees found to collect the
honeydew from the mealy bug. Similarly, the association
between Hemipterans and stingless bees were discussed
by Camargo & Pedro (2002) and found only the genus
Schwarzula had mutualistic association with
Hemipterans. Roubik (1989) observed the mutualistic
association between stingless bees and Hemipterans. In
addition, some species of stingless bees with obligate
nacrophagic habits, three species (Trigona necrophaga,
T.hypogea and T.crassipes) were found to collect flesh of
dead animals is their only protein source and sugars
obtained from ripe or rotting fruit, extra floral nectaries,
fallen f lowers on theground (Roubik, 1982).
: the results of the pollen
analysesreveals thattheforagesof are mostly
preferred the 12 plants species belonging to four familes
(Asteraceae, Musaceae, Fabaceae and Poaceae). The
highest frequency (71 to 100%) was noted in pollen of
. The presence of the above
pollen types were noted annually, which confirmed the
attractiveness of theirpollen and nectar tostingless bees.
Similarly, Singh & Kar (2011) recorded a diverse
spectrum of 27 pollen types belonging to 19 families from
12 Sunderbans honey samples (Bangaldesh) and
Andaman (India). Jhansi (1994) recorded 51 pollen
types referable to 36 families in the samples studies from
Andhra Pradesh, India. Atwal (1970) studied
different bee flora for four species of for
Lucknow region based on the pollen analysis. Recently,
Padmavathy& Rehel (2014)recorded 12 species belonging
Melissopalynological study
T. iridipennis
Cocus nucifera, Zea myze, Musa paradisiaca and
Commelina benghalensis
et al.
et al.
Apis mellifera
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Plate 1: collecting - nector from leaf, from
crushed sugercane, excretes from animal waste,
resin from falling f lowers
T. iridipennis a) b)
c) d)
Acacia torta
Parthenium sp.
Alternanthera Cocus nucifera Cocus nuciferasp.
Tamarindus indica Mimosa pudica Mimosa pudica
Plate 2: Pollen micrographs
to 11 families were identif ied as floral sources for
in Conoor, Nilgiri hills,Tamil Nadu. Theyrecorded
the pollen grains of and spp.
frequently from the honeysamplesof .
A pollen spectrumreveled that the pollen grainsof
as a major source of pollen and it was found
throughout the year in the present study area. Similarly,
Bhargava (2009) reported that as the
pollen source available throughout the year in Karnataka,
India. In addition, Sekhar (2000) revealed that the
dominant pollen sources for bees in Bangaluru region are
also and . Many
Asteraceae species produce nectar (Terrab 2001) and
according to our results the taxa of this f amily are of great
importance both as nectar and pollen source in the study
area. In addition, Suryanarayana (1991) in their study
at Muzaffarpur (Bihar), India, reported that members of
Asteraceaeprovided forage fora major partof the year.
The present study confirmed the availability of
high diversity vegetation around Nellithurai village. In
addition, melissopalynology of stingless bee honey helps
to characterizevegetation surrounding the collection site
and provide detailed information on stingless bee
flowering plants. The present study helps the beekeepers
and farmers to know the flowering plants utilized by
stingless bees. Thus they can take appropriates steps to
Syzygium cumini Acacia
Cocus nucifera
et al. Cocus nucifera
Cocus nucifera Eucalyptus tereticornis
et al.,
et al.
We are grateful to Dr. Cleofas R.
Cervancia, for her guidance during the study. We are especially
indebted to Dr. Deborah Smith (University of Kansas, USA) for
identifying stingless bee species and providing relevant literature.
I extend my sincere thank to Dr. M. Muthuraman, for his
encouragement and motivation to pursue the research work. I
would also like to thank to beekeeper Mr. G.K. Thangavelu for
samplecollectionand documentation.
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Table-1: Stingless bee floral sources in Nellithurai village
No Scientif ic name Common name /Tamil name Family Habitat
1 Adhatoda zeylanica Malabarnut/ Adathoda Acanthaceae Herb
2 Alternanthera sessilis Dwarf copperleaf Ponnanganni Keerai Amaranthaceae Herb
3 Azadirachta india Neem/Vambu Meliacae Tree
4 Benincasa hispida Pumpkin / Poosanikai Cucurbitaceae Vegetable
5 Boerhavia diffusa Red spiderling/ Mukkarattai keerai Nyctaginaceae Herb
6 Calotropis gigantean Yerukku Apocynaceae Shrub
7 Calendula off icinalis Mary gold Calenduleae Herb
8 Capsicum f rutescens Chilly Solanaceae Vegetable
9 Caryota urens Jaggery Palm Arecaceaee Herb
10 Ceiba pentandra Java kapok/ Ilavam Malvaceaee Tree
11 Cissus quadrangularis Devil's Backbone/ Pirandai V itaceae Climber
12 Citrus medica Lemon Rutaceae Shrup
13 Coccinia grandis Little gourd/ Kovai Cucurbitaceae Climber
14 Cocus nucifera Coconut Palm Arecaceaee Tree
15 Commelina benghalensis Benghal dayflower/ Kanan Keerai Commelinaceae Herb
16 Coriandrum sativum Coriander/ Kothamalli Apiaceae Herb
17 Croton bonplandianum Croton/ Rail Poondu Euphorbiaceae Herb
18 Evolvulus alsinoides Vishnukiranthi Convolvulaceae Herb
19 Eucalyptus sp. Thailamaram Myrtaceae Tree
20 Helianthus annuls Sunf lower Asteraceae Oil seed
21 Ixora coxinia Jungle f lame/ Itlly Poo Rubiaceae Shrub
22 Jatropha curcas Physic nut Euphorbiaceae Shrub
23 Jatropha gossypifoli - Euphorbiaceae Shrub
24 Lantana camara Wild Sage/ Unni Verbenaceae Shrub
25 Lawsonia inermis Henna/ Maruthani Lythraceae Shrub
26 Mangifera indica Mango/ Maa Anacardiaceae Tree
27 Momordica charantia Bitter Guard/ Paval Cucurbitaceae Climber
28 Moringa pterygosperma Drum Stick/ Murungai Moringaceae Tree
29 Murraya koenigii Curry tree/ Karuvapplli Rutaceae Shrub
30 Musa paradisiaca Banana Musaceae Tree
31 Ocimum canum Holy Basil/ Nai thulasi Lamiaceae Herb
32 Parthenium hysterophorus Parthenium weed/ Visha Poondu Asteraceae Herb
33 Pennisetum americanum Pearl millet/ Kambu Poaceae Pulses
34 Phyllanthus emblica Amla/ Nelli Phyllanthaceae Tree
35 Portulaca oleracea . Pigweed/ Paruppu Keerai Portulacaceae Herb
36 Prisopis julifera Mesquite Fabaceae Shrub
37 Pithecellobium dulce Manila tamarind/ Kodukkapuli Fabaceae Tree
38 Soalnum melongena Brinjal Solanaceae Vegetable
39 Solanum nigrum Black nightshade/ Manathakali Solanaceae Herb
40 Sorghum halepense Johnson grass/ Solam Poaceae Pulses
41 Tamarindus indica Tamarind/ Poliyamaram Fabaceae Tree
42 Tribulus terrestris Tackweed/ Nerinji Zygophyllaceae Herb
43 V igna radiate Green Gram/ Pasi Payaru Fabaceae Pulses
44 Vitex negundo Nochi Lamiaceae Shrub
45 Zea myze Myze Poaceae Pulses
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Table-2: Important pollen groups in the study area and their frequency
S.No Family Pollen type S IM M FO*
*Frequency observation
1 Acanthaceae Aerva tomentosa 5 33.30
2 Alternanthera sessilis 10 66.70
3 Digera muricata 6 40.00
4 Anacardiaceae Mangifera indica 1 3 26.60
5 Apiaceae Coriandrum sativum 2 1 20.00
6 Apocynaceae Calotropis gigantean 6 1 46.67
7 Asteraceae Cocus nucifera 12 2 1 100.00
8 Helianthus annuls 6 3 60.00
9 Parthenium hysterophorus 3 2 2 46.67
10 Tridax procumbens 1 5 40.00
11 Commelinaceae Commelina benghalensis 11 73.33
12 Convolvulaceae Evolvulus alsinoides 5 33.30
13 Euphorbiaceae Croton bonplandianum 3 20.00
14 Jatropha curcas 4 2 40.00
15 Fabaceae Cajanus cajan 5 3 53.33
16 Pongamia pinnata 4 3 46.67
17 Mimosa pudica 4 26.60
18 Tamarindus indica 2 5 3 66.70
19 Lamiaceae Vitex negundo 1 1 13.33
20 Meliaceae Azadirachta indica 6 1 46.67
21 Myrtaceae Eucalyptus sp. 2 2 26.60
22 Musaceae Musa paradisiaca 7 4 73.33
23 Phyllanthaceae Phyllanthus emblica 1 4 33.33
24 Poaceae Pennisetum americanum 3 20.00
25 Sorghum halepense 4 26.60
26 Zea myze 7 3 2 80.00
27 Rutaceae Citrus medica 3 1 4 53.33
28 Solanaceae Capsicum frutescens 1 5 40.00
29 Soalnum melongena 6 40.00
30 Zygophyllaceae Tribulus terrestris 3 20.00

Supplementary resource (1)

... The study of pollen content in honey is known as melissopalynology. Melissopalynology or analysis of pollen diversity in honey is a common method for determining the originality, botanical origin, and geographical origin of honey (von der Ohe et al. 2004;Bryant 2018). Melissopalynological analysis is a suitable approach to study the interactions between plants and bees by identifying the diversity and number of pollen grains extracted from honey (Dhawan et al. 2018). ...
... Melissopalynological studies on honey produced by nine species of stingless honey bees consisted of Cephalotrigona capitata, Melipona bicolor, M. marginata, M. mondury, M. quadrifasciata, M. scutellaris, M. seminigra, Scaptotrigona xanthotricha, and Tetragonisca angustula have been reported from Brazil (do Nascimento et al. 2015). Similar study was for honey produced by Tetragonula iridipennis from India (Vijayakumar and Jeyaraaj 2016), honey of Tetragonula pagdeni from Thailand (Thakodee et al. 2018), and honey produced by Heterotrigona itama from Malaysia (Majid et al. 2019). However, publications on the diversity of pollen in honey produced by stingless bees from Lombok Island are still very limited. ...
... Preparation of pollen microscopic slides from honey was carried out following the procedure of von der Ohe et al. (2004) with some modifications. Five mL of honey was put into a glass tube, and then 20 mL of warm (40-60°C) distilled water was added. ...
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Jayadi LZ, Susandarini R. 2020. Melissopalynological analysis of honey produced by two species of stingless bees in Lombok Island, Indonesia. Nusantara Bioscience 12: 97-108. Honey is a natural product with a variety of benefits that commonly used as food sweeteners, health supplements, and traditional medicine. There has been no comprehensive publication regarding the diversity of pollen contained in honey produced by stingless bee Tetragonula laeviceps and Heterotrogona itama from Lombok. This study aimed to reveal the diversity of pollen content in honey through melissopalynological analysis of honey samples produced by two species of stingless bees T. laeviceps and H. itama in Lombok Island. This melissopalynological study was performed on honey samples obtained from nine villages from nine sub-districts representing the three districts on Lombok Island. Pollen extraction from honey was carried out using standard methods for melissopalynological analysis. The diversity of pollen recovered from honey varied from 15 to 41 pollen types. Total number of plant species whose pollen was recovered from honey samples was 127 which consisted of 61 families. The occurrence of predominant pollen type in particular unifloral honey samples indicated their botanical origin and presumed geographical origin of honey. Results of this study are useful in confirming botanical origin of honey and generating information on plants potential as food source for sustainable beekeeping in Lombok Island.
... Plate 1 : Pollen grains from corbicula pollen load samples collected by stingless bees. by Gadhiya and Pastagia (2015) from Navsari Agricultural University Campus, Gujarat; C. nucifera, C. sativum, M. indica and Solanum nigrum L. by Vijayakumar and Jeyaraaj (2016) from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu; Anacardium occidentale L., A. cepa, C. nucifera, M. indica and Punica granatum L. by Singh et al (2016) at the foothill of Nagaland; A. cepa, C. nucifera, C. sativum, M. indica, M. sativa, Muntingia calabura L., Stingless bees forage on a wide range of flowers for floral rewards because sugars present in nectar are the principal source of carbohydrates in a bee's diet. Whereas, pollen is the principal source of protein. ...
... According to family-wise, the Arecaceae family was more foraged by a stingless bee for pollen source may be because of dense inflorescence and rich source of pollen especially in male flowers of coconut. These results are in conformity with the reports of Vijayakumar and Jeyaraaj (2016), who reported the plant taxa like C. nucifera, C. cajan, M. indica, C. sativum, Capsicum frutescens L. by pollen analysis of pollen collected from T. iridipennis at Coimbatore. ...
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Stingless bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponinae) are eusocial insects, play an important role as pollinators of many flowering plants. This study was aimed to know the flowering plants foraged by stingless bees through visual observations and pollen analysis. The roving survey was conducted at the College of Horticulture, Udyanagiri and Haveli Campus, Bagalkot, Karnataka and observed for the stingless bees on flowering plants from September 2019 to March 2020 during peak foraging time. Recorded a total of 30 plant species belonging to 20 different families of which most preferred families included Apiaceae, Fabaceae, Asteraceae, Amaryllidaceae, Anacardiaceae and Euphorbiaceae. The pollen analysis or Melissopalynology was performed by using the standard method of acetolysis. A total of 11 pollen loads were collected from corbicula of stingless bees from January to March 2020 and identified 9 plant species belonging to 8 different families of which, family Arecaceae and Mangifera indica L. were most occurred pollen types among all the pollen load collected samples. These results suggest that the studied areas can provide food sources for stingless bees where it is important for maintaining populations of them in meliponiculture.
... Their nest usually has a small cryptic entrance without any external entrance for further activity of the workers (Gloag et al., 2008). The stingless bees make less honey compared to honey bees and are widely distributed in diverse tropical regions of India Vijayakumar & Jeyaraaj, 2016). ...
... Although there are few reports on stingless bee honey from northern, western and southern regions of India (Bisui et al., 2019;Biswa et al., 2017;Rasmussen, 2013;Vijayakumar & Jeyaraaj, 2016), there is no melissopalynological record of stingless bee from eastern part of India. Recently, Bisui et al. (2019) and Layek and Karmakar (2018) reported on nesting characteristics, floral sources and pollen forage pattern in stingless bees from West Bengal. ...
... Inadequate development of meliponiculture using the bee species has several reasons, including scarcity of data about its foraging behavior for nectar resources. Quantitatively, nectariferous plants were depicted through palynological analysis of pot honey (Vijayakumar & Jeyaraaj, 2016;Layek & Karmakar, 2018a). Pollen analyses of honey (i.e., melissopalynology) have been used to accurately determine the botanical and geographic origin of honey (Louveaux et al., 1978, Von der Ohe et al., 2004Ponnuchamy et al., 2014). ...
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Knowledge about floral resources is essential for bee management and conservation. Pollen analysis of honey is the most traditional method for determining the nectar resources of a bee species. However, the collection of honey samples is difficult in cavity-nesting natural stingless bee colonies. Furthermore, it is detrimental to the wild bee’s colony and may threaten their survivability. We analyzed adhered body surface pollen of incoming nectar foragers (which were smeared incidentally during nectar foraging) as an alternative method to determine nectariferous flora of Tetragonula iridipennis in West Bengal, India. By this method, we have identified 75 pollen types. The number of obtained pollen types was lower in the human-altered habitats of Midnapore city (44 pollen types) than the semi-natural habitats of Garhbeta (71 pollen types). Excluding a few pollen types of non-nectariferous plants, most of the pollen types came from nectariferous plants of both crop and non-crop species. Non-crop flowering plants (viz. Ailanthus excelsa, Borassus flabellifer, Eucalyptus tereticornis, Lannea coromandelica, Peltophorum pterocarpum, and Tectona grandis) provided a significant amount of nectar to the bee species and, therefore, play an important role in the conservation of the bee species.
... Several studies have also recorded the use of anemophilous plants by stingless bees (Barth 2004;Sierra and Smith 2008;Oliveira 2009;Lopes 2012;Freitas and de Novais 2014;de Novais and Absy 2015;Ferreira and Absy 2017;Absy et al. 2018;Radaeski et al. 2019;Rezende et al. 2019) in other tropical forest ecosystems, such as humid forests in Colombia (Obregon, 2011) and the Atlantic Forest in Brazil (Morgado et al. 2011(Morgado et al. , 2018Braga et al. 2014). In the field, T. angustula was often observed foraging these anemophilous plants and adding their pollen loads to honey pots in the hives, highlighting the variety of plant resources involved in the diet of Meliponini bees (Lorenzon and Matrangolo 2005;Aleixo et al. 2016;Vijayakumar and Jeyaraaj 2016;Villanueva-Gutiérrez and Roubik 2016;Bobadoye 2017;Absy et al. 2018). ...
The response of two stingless bees (Tetragonisca angustula and Melipona eburnea) to changes in vegetation cover was evaluated on seasonal and spatial scales. Seasonal variation was analysed for 15 months, with monthly melitopalinological assessments of hives located in three different vegetation covers: forests, fallows, and grasslands, in the Colombian Central Cordillera. Fallows, with an intermediate disturbance degree, presented the highest pollen taxa richness for both bee species (33 and 40 taxa for M. eburnea and T. angustula, respectively). Both bee species presented a high preference for plant families Melastomataceae, Sapindaceae, and Peraceae. Miconia minutiflora and Mi. prasina (Melastomataceae) were the most selected species, with an alternation in their use between dry and wet seasons. Clethra spp., Pera arborea, and Ilex laureola were also highly selected by both bee species. M. eburnea showed higher pollen richness values during the dry season, when the largest number of plant species flowered. Despite both bee species being polylectic, T. angustula presented higher pollen richness values during wet periods, which was reflected in a greater amplitude of trophic niche compared to M. eburnea. Both bee species showed a higher preference for typical plants in forest environments, enhancing meliponiculture as an economically sustainable practice that can promote forest conservation and the maintenance of stingless forest interactions.
... According to Leonhardt and Bluthgen (2009), foragers preferred floral resin that does not harden quickly, so that bees can reuse it for construction within the nest. The pollen from flowering plants is vital as a source of protein and lipids essential for growth, development, and reproduction of the bee colony (Karuppasamy & Jeyaraaj, 2016). Unlike nectar and resin, pollen is a limited resource that cannot be continuously replenished by plants, and can be quickly depleted during the day (Di Pasquale et al., 2016). ...
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β-carotene is an important nutritional content in banana. However, its lifetime depends on the enzymes controlling its conversion into strigolactone. To understand the involved enzymes’ activity, which are β-carotene isomerase (D27), carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase 7 (CCD7), and CCD8, would be the key to manipulate the rate of β-carotene degradation. In this research, we characterized the structure of genes and proteins of the D27, CCD7, and CCD8 from Musa acuminata ‘DH-Pahang’ and Musa balbisiana ‘Pisang Klutuk Wulung’ (PKW). We aligned the corresponding sequence of genes from both species to determine similarity and intron/exon positions. We also identified domains and motifs in the sequences of putative proteins of D27, CCD7, and CCD8. We found that D27, CCD7, and CCD8 genes in DH-Pahang and PKW comprise of various nucleotide sequence length, putative proteins, and numbers and length of exons and introns. However, the putative proteins possess the same domains: DUF4033 (domain of unknown function) in D27 and RPE65 (retinal pigment epithelium) in CCD7 and CCD8. Phylogenetic trees showed that D27, CCD7, and CCD8 proteins from DH-Pahang and PKW are conserved and clustered in the same clades with the same proteins of monocot plants. Hence, the results could be useful for future research in optimizing β-carotene content in banana. Keywords: A genome, B genome, β-carotene, CCD, D27
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This study aims to investigate the foraging behaviour of Heterotrigona itama in exploiting food resources at a residential area, and the viability of this species to adapt to urban microclimatic conditions. Heterotrigona itama prefers to forage at areas closer to their nesting site, where diverse food sources are found. The marked bees of H. itama prefer to forage on various resources available at a 500-metre radius from the house yard. The obtained results indicate that the active foraging pattern of H. itama is negatively correlated to the time phases of a day (p < 0.05). This phenomenon was contributed by the three peaks of foraging hours, which reached a peak in the early morning (6:30 to 8:00 a.m.), moderately peaked towards the evening (2:30 to 3:30 p.m.), and was greatest towards the afternoon (10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.). The ambient temperature and relative humidity were not the primary factors influencing the average number of foragers exiting from and returning to the hives (temperature, p > 0.05; and humidity, p > 0.05). There was a difference between the varieties of content resources collected by the bees (p < 0.05). The nectar or water sources was the highest material (51.39%) that was brought back to the hive by foragers, followed by resin (34.73%) and pollen (13.87%). There was a significant difference in foraging time phases by returning foragers for collecting resin (p < 0.05) and nectar or water (p < 0.02), but there was no significant difference in foraging time phases found for pollen (p > 0.05). We concluded from the results that H. itama is able to withstand urban microclimate conditions, and successfully incorporated pollen, nectar or water, and resin obtained from floral and non-floral resources into their diet.
Stingless bees need different types of resources to rear brood, build nest structures and defend their colony. This has major consequences for tropical ecosystems because the collection of pollen, the main protein source for larvae, and carbohydrates in the form of floral nectars lead to pollination. Worldwide, thousands of plant species are likely to benefit from stingless bee pollination (Chap. 9). Stingless bees differ somewhat from honey bees in that non-floral resources (e.g. resinous materials, fruit juice and carrion; see below) also account for a significant proportion of foraging trips (Roubik 1989; Lorenzon and Matrangolo 2005).
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These research objectives were to identify the honey type and the potential plants as food source of stingless bees in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. Stingless bees honey samples were collected on September 2016 from four different locations in Lombok which are North Lombok, West Lombok, Central Lombok, and East Lombok. The pollen analysis was performed using Von Der Ohe et al . (2004) methods with modification. The result showed that stingless bees honey samples from four locations did not have predominant pollen which classified as multifloral honey. Meanwhile in the honey samples there identified 27 pollen types belonging to 21 families. The pollen spectrums of honey samples were diverse, with the highest dominancy of Arecaceae (Cocos nucífera) in North and Central Lombok and also Tiliaceae (Type Tílíaceae ) in West and East Lombok.
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In India honey bees like Apis cerana and Apis mellifera are reared for commercial purpose. The other bees like rock bee (Apis dorsata), little bee (Apis florea) and dammer bee (Trigona sp) are not domesticated because of their ecophysiology. However, the kani tribes living in Karayar area of Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve area (KMTR) of Western Ghats have developed a novel method of rearing the dammer bees. The objective of the study is to understand the traditional skill of Kani tribes to rear the stingless bee (Trigona sp.) which was not used for regular bee keeping. The present study also gives importance to evolve commercial strategies to get honey (medicinal honey) from Trigona sp. The findings of the present study will help to preserve the art of rearing stingless bees and to introduce modern techniques to harvest pure, clean and uncontaminated honey by suitable modifications in the indigenous practice of stingless bee rearing. The honey produced by dammer bees is a panacea for much human illness. The Kani tribes have developed a bamboo pole bee hive to keep this stingless bee belonged to the species Trigona irredipensis. The dammer bees build an interesting type of comb made of propolis, mud and about 600-700gm honey is collected per year per hive. Because of rich medicinal value the honey collected from this beehive is sold at a rate of Rs.1000/Kg.
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Stingless bees diverged since the Cretaceous, have 50 times more species than Apis, and are both distinctive and diverse. Nesting is capitulated by 30 variables but most do not define clades. Both architectural features and behavior decrease vulnerability, and large genera vary in nest habit, architecture and defense. Natural stingless bee colony density is 15 to 1500 km$^{-2}$. Symbionts include mycophagic mites, collembolans, leiodid beetles, mutualist coccids, molds, and ricinuleid arachnids. Mutualist bacteria and fungi preserve food and brood provisions. Nest associates include trees, termite, wasp and ant colonies. Ventilation is the means of nest environment regulation, achieved by fanning worker bees. Permanence of stingless bee nests, with annual mortality ca. 13%, implies a colony has 23 years to reproduce. Inability to freely swarm and single mating may all increase nesting specificity, competition, symbiosis and cleptobiosis in communities, while disease is rare.
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The social bee Trigona hypogea uses carrion instead of pollen as a protein source. Nests lack stored pollen, pollen is absent in larval provisions, and corbiculae for pollen transport on worker hind legs are reduced. Glandular secretions of 20 percent protein content appear to replace stored pollen. Toothed mandibles, pheromonal recruitment to resources, and aggressive foraging behavior facilitated evolution of necrophagy in this tropical forest bee lineage.
Pollen analyses of 6 apiary (extracted) honey samples collected during March and June, 1982 from 3 districts, Vishakhapatnam (2), East Godavari (1) and Guntur (3) of Andhra Pradesh in the southern part of India, showed that these honeys come from 2 discrete floristic regimes: deciduous forest (Vishakhapatnam and East Godavari) and agricultural tracts (Guntur). The East Godavari honey was unifloral with Anogeissus latifolia (48.67%) as the predominant pollen type. The remaining samples were multifloral. Lagerstroemia parviflora, Crotalaria juncea and Schleichera oleosa constitute the chief nectar sources of the forest area of Vishakhapatnam during late summer. Borassus flabellifer, Hygrophila sp, Crotalaria juncea, Cucumis sp, Phyla nodiflora and Momordica charantia, however, represent the main bee plants of the agricultural tracts of the Guntur district during the summer.
The melissopalynological, physico-chemical and colour characteristics of Eucalyptus honeys from Morocco were studied. It is generally accepted that a minimum content of 70% of Eucalyptus pollen is necessary to classify an Eucalyptus honey as unifloral. Twenty-eight physico-chemical and five colour parameters were measured, including the content of sugars and minerals, proline, water content, pH, acidity, hydroxymethylfurfural, diastase activity, ash, electrical conductivity, colour coordinates (L*, a*, b*), chroma (C*ab) and hue angle (hab). Pollen analysis was included, and samples contained a mean of six pollen types (range 2–12). The majority of the samples (75%) contained more than 90%Eucalyptus pollen. The presence of Quercus, Plantago and Thymelaea pollen allows the differentiation of these honeys from those with a different geographical origin. Physico-chemical analysis showed that there was a low percentage of sucrose ( = 0.01%) and trisaccharides. Mineral analysis showed a low percentage of Mg ( = 25.99 ppm) and K ( = 205 ppm), while electrical conductivity ( = 721 μS cm−1) and diastase activity ( = 39.05 °Gothe) showed medium-high values. The colour parameters lightness (L*) and chroma (C*ab) showed relatively low values.
TheAcetolysis MethodA Revised Description
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