Environmental and genetic influences on flight metabolic rate in the honey bee, Apis mellifera

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    69 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Flying honey bees demonstrate highly variable metabolic rates. The lowest reported values (approximately 0.3 Wg-1) occur in tethered bees generating the minimum lift to support their body weight, free-flying 2-day old bees, winter bees, or bees flying at high air temperatures (45°C). The highest values (approximately 0.8 Wg-1) occur in foragers that are heavily loaded or flying in low-density air. In different studies, flight metabolic rate has increased, decreased, or remained constant with air temperature. Current research collectively suggests that this variation occurs because flight metabolic rates decrease at thorax temperatures above or below 38°C. At 30°C, approximately 30% of colonial energy is spent during typical foraging, so variation in flight metabolic rate can strongly affect colony-level energy balance. Higher air temperatures tend to increase colonial net gain rates, efficiencies and honey storage rates due to lower metabolic rates during flight and in the hive. Variation in flight metabolism has a clear genetic basis. Different genetic strains of honey bees often differ in flight metabolic rate, and these differences in flight physiology can be correlated with foraging effort, suggesting a possible pathway for selection effects on flight metabolism.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)323-333
    Number of pages11
    JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
    Volume133
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 2002

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    Honey
    Bees
    Air
    Metabolism
    Temperature
    Physiology
    Energy balance
    Urticaria
    Thorax
    Body Weight
    Research

    Keywords

    • Africanized honey bee
    • Apis mellifera
    • Development
    • Flight
    • Foraging
    • Honey bee metabolic rate
    • Metabolism
    • Season
    • Temperature
    • Thermoregulation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry
    • Molecular Biology
    • Physiology

    Cite this

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    title = "Environmental and genetic influences on flight metabolic rate in the honey bee, Apis mellifera",
    abstract = "Flying honey bees demonstrate highly variable metabolic rates. The lowest reported values (approximately 0.3 Wg-1) occur in tethered bees generating the minimum lift to support their body weight, free-flying 2-day old bees, winter bees, or bees flying at high air temperatures (45°C). The highest values (approximately 0.8 Wg-1) occur in foragers that are heavily loaded or flying in low-density air. In different studies, flight metabolic rate has increased, decreased, or remained constant with air temperature. Current research collectively suggests that this variation occurs because flight metabolic rates decrease at thorax temperatures above or below 38°C. At 30°C, approximately 30{\%} of colonial energy is spent during typical foraging, so variation in flight metabolic rate can strongly affect colony-level energy balance. Higher air temperatures tend to increase colonial net gain rates, efficiencies and honey storage rates due to lower metabolic rates during flight and in the hive. Variation in flight metabolism has a clear genetic basis. Different genetic strains of honey bees often differ in flight metabolic rate, and these differences in flight physiology can be correlated with foraging effort, suggesting a possible pathway for selection effects on flight metabolism.",
    keywords = "Africanized honey bee, Apis mellifera, Development, Flight, Foraging, Honey bee metabolic rate, Metabolism, Season, Temperature, Thermoregulation",
    author = "Jon Harrison and Jennifer Fewell",
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