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Individually recognizable scent marks on flowers made by a solitary bee

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F Gilbert, S Azmeh, C Barnard, J Behnke, SA Collins, J Hurst, David Michael Shuker, None Behav Ecology Field Course, Behav Ecology Field Course

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Abstract

The marking of flowers with ephemeral scent is an underappreciated but vital element in the foraging behaviour of social bees. Using observational and experimental data, we tested whether a solitary bee (female Anthophora plumipes) uses scent marking while foraging on flowers of Cerinthe major in Portugal. Females used scent marks with at least two components that differed in their volatility and, furthermore, recognized the marks of different individuals. A very short-term component (<3 min) was attractive, resulting in the observed high level of immediate revisits: this component appeared to be adjusted according to the foraging needs of the moment. A longer-term component (<30 min) was initially repellent and matched the rate of nectar renewal; it, or the response to it, also appeared to be adjusted to the perceived level of nectar reward. There may be even longer-term effects associated with the specific foraging areas of individual bees. Observed differences in the way in which individuals responded to scent marks indicate that they may play a role as part of a dominance or exclusion mechanism among females. (C) 2001 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-229
Number of pages13
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume61
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2001

    Research areas

  • FORAGING BUMBLEBEES, ANCHUSA-STRIGOSA, APIS-MELLIFERA, NECTAR, HONEYBEES, EFFICIENCY, CHOICE, POLLINATORS, BEHAVIOR, VISITS

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