Department of Biology

Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Claus Rasmussen

A stingless bee nesting with a paper wasp (Hymenoptera: Apidae, Vespidae)

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The tropical stingless bees are known to use diverse nest sites, and some species will nest within the nest of other insects including ants and termites. However, it has not been reported before that a stingless bee, Trigona cilipes (Fabricius) (Hymenoptera: Apidae), is able to establish its nest within the nest of the social paper wasp Epipona tatua (Cuvier) (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) as reported here. The bell-shaped nest with both wasps and bees was found in secondary forest in Peru, and held under observation for several weeks until collection. Description of nest architecture and some behavioral observations are presented. Trigona cilipes is usually found nesting with Azteca ants, and the behavioral flexibility that enables them to also colonize wasp nests results in several advantages that may favor wasp associations as discussed in the text.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Kansas Entomological Society
Pages (from-to)593-601
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004

    Research areas

  • Behavioral plasticity, Epipona tatua, Nest biology, Peru, Trigona cilipes

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