Faculté des sciences

Host recognition in a pollen-specialist bee: evidence for a genetic basis = Reconnaissance de l’hôte par une abeille spécialiste par rapport au pollen : preuve d’une base génétique

Praz, Christophe J. ; Müller, Andreas ; Dorn, Silvia

In: Apidologie, 2008, vol. 39, no. 5, p. 547-557

To investigate the effect of larval pollen diet on floral choice in a specialized bee species, we compared the floral preferences of individuals of Heriades truncorum (Megachilidae) reared on host pollen with those of individuals reared on two different types of non-host pollen. Females were allowed to nest in cages where both host and non-host flowers were available. All females,... Plus

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    Summary
    To investigate the effect of larval pollen diet on floral choice in a specialized bee species, we compared the floral preferences of individuals of Heriades truncorum (Megachilidae) reared on host pollen with those of individuals reared on two different types of non-host pollen. Females were allowed to nest in cages where both host and non-host flowers were available. All females, regardless of larval diet, restricted pollen collection to their host, although they visited the flowers of both host and non-host plants for nectar. When offered only the non-host pollen source, females ceased nesting activities. Males reared on non-host pollen exclusively restricted their patrolling flights to flowers of their normal host. This study provides the first empirical investigation of the imprinting theory in oligolectic bees, and unambiguously suggests that host recognition has a genetic basis in H. truncorum. We discuss the implication of this finding for the understanding of bee-flower relationships.