Vol. 23, Nš 3

A NOTE ON THE RITUALISED BEHAVIOUR OF MELIPONA BEES FROM XAPURI

Hayo H. W. Velthuis

KEYWORDS: Chemical communication, Melipona, ritualisations

ABSTRACT: The behaviour during the provisioning and oviposition process (POP) of three species of Amazonian Melipona bees, native in Acre, are compared: M. crinita, M. eburnea fuscopilosa and M. grandis. The POP of the stingless bees is considered to contain a number of ritualized behavioural elements. This means that during evolution a functional shift has taken place from an act serving the individual into a communicative signal, thus serving the interaction among individuals. Because stingless bees live in the dark, communication can be expected to be mainly of a pheromonal nature. Yet the descriptions of POP behaviour concern what is visible to the human eye: postures and movements. In this paper an attempt is made to connect some of such postures and movements with odourous signals.