Intra- and interspecific nestmate recognition in Melipona workers (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

Michael D. Breed, Robert E. Page

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


The possible significance of nestmate recognition in prevention of robbing and parasitism in three species of stingless bees was assessed. Nestmate discrimination abilities vary among them; Melipona quadrifasciata workers attacked 74% of nonnestmate conspecifics that were encountered, while M. scutellaris and M. rufiventris were less discriminating, attacking only 14 and 60% of non-nestmates, respectively. In tests of interspecific interactions, M. quadrifasciata and M. scutellaris were the least mutually tolerant of all species pairs tested. Tests with Apis mellifera showed a high degree of intolerance by two of the three Melipona species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-469
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 1991


  • Apis mellifera
  • Melipona
  • nestmate recognition
  • stingless bees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science

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