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Euglossine in an ant nest

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  • Mitchell,Randall J
    One of my past students (Sean Kelly, now a grad student in Puerto Rico) was recently in Costa Rica and recorded this odd behavior of a small metallic bee
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 2, 2014
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      Bee Inventory, Monitoring, and ID

      One of my past students (Sean Kelly, now a grad student in Puerto Rico) was recently in Costa Rica and recorded this odd behavior of a small metallic bee (Euglossa??) going in and out of a small ant nest, and fanning wings at the entrance. He recorded video of the behavior (linked below).

       

      My student thought  that the bee might be disorienting the ants with the fanning, and then dashes in to gather something.  But what?  Several times you can see that ants are grabbing her with their jaws and she shakes them off.  The bee kept this up for hours on sunny mornings.  

       

      Any thoughts?

      Thanks

      Randy Mitchell

       

      https://ssl.gstatic.com/docs/doclist/images/icon_10_generic_list.png DSCN4915.AVI


       

       

    • Matthias Buck
      Fascinating! Is this a male or a female? Males are known to gather scents from various sources to attract females. Might there be an interesting scent to be
      Message 2 of 5 , Feb 2, 2014
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        Fascinating! Is this a male or a female? Males are known to gather scents from various sources to attract females. Might there be an interesting scent to be had from an ant colony?? Just a wild guess...

        Cheers, Matthias


        On Sun, Feb 2, 2014 at 7:16 AM, Mitchell,Randall J <rjm2@...> wrote:
         

        One of my past students (Sean Kelly, now a grad student in Puerto Rico) was recently in Costa Rica and recorded this odd behavior of a small metallic bee (Euglossa??) going in and out of a small ant nest, and fanning wings at the entrance. He recorded video of the behavior (linked below).

         

        My student thought  that the bee might be disorienting the ants with the fanning, and then dashes in to gather something.  But what?  Several times you can see that ants are grabbing her with their jaws and she shakes them off.  The bee kept this up for hours on sunny mornings.  

         

        Any thoughts?

        Thanks

        Randy Mitchell

         

        https://ssl.gstatic.com/docs/doclist/images/icon_10_generic_list.png DSCN4915.AVI


         

         




        --
        Dr. Matthias Buck
        Invertebrate Zoology
        Royal Alberta Museum
        12845-102nd Avenue
        Edmonton, Alberta
        Canada, T5N 0M6
        Phone: (780) 453-9122
        www.royalalbertamuseum.ca
      • Heather Moylett
        I was thinking the same thing, Matthias. It looks like a male collecting a scent. The way he goes in, flies up and then rubs the hind basitarsi over his legs.
        Message 3 of 5 , Feb 2, 2014
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          I was thinking the same thing, Matthias. It looks like a male collecting a scent. The way he goes in, flies up and then rubs the hind basitarsi over his legs. I wonder what the ants have that is attracting the bee? Was this the only orchid bee seen at this ant nest?

          Thanks for sharing the video!


          Heather



          On Sun, Feb 2, 2014 at 10:13 AM, Matthias Buck <buckmb@...> wrote:
           

          Fascinating! Is this a male or a female? Males are known to gather scents from various sources to attract females. Might there be an interesting scent to be had from an ant colony?? Just a wild guess...

          Cheers, Matthias


          On Sun, Feb 2, 2014 at 7:16 AM, Mitchell,Randall J <rjm2@...> wrote:
           

          One of my past students (Sean Kelly, now a grad student in Puerto Rico) was recently in Costa Rica and recorded this odd behavior of a small metallic bee (Euglossa??) going in and out of a small ant nest, and fanning wings at the entrance. He recorded video of the behavior (linked below).

           

          My student thought  that the bee might be disorienting the ants with the fanning, and then dashes in to gather something.  But what?  Several times you can see that ants are grabbing her with their jaws and she shakes them off.  The bee kept this up for hours on sunny mornings.  

           

          Any thoughts?

          Thanks

          Randy Mitchell

           

          https://ssl.gstatic.com/docs/doclist/images/icon_10_generic_list.png DSCN4915.AVI


           

           




          --
          Dr. Matthias Buck
          Invertebrate Zoology
          Royal Alberta Museum
          12845-102nd Avenue
          Edmonton, Alberta
          Canada, T5N 0M6
          Phone: (780) 453-9122
          www.royalalbertamuseum.ca




          --
          Heather M. C. Moylett
          MSc Candidate
          Entomology Department
          North Carolina State University
          Raleigh, NC 27609
        • Howlett, Anita
          Regarding the Euglossine bee behavior filmed... I forwarded the link to a biologist/ant specialist friend in Germany who had this to say: Hi Anita , This
          Message 4 of 5 , Feb 5, 2014
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            Regarding the Euglossine bee behavior filmed… I forwarded the link to a biologist/ant specialist friend in Germany who had this to say:

            Hi Anita ,

            This behavior is entirely new to me. Even in connection with orchids I did not know it so far and what this pretty bee is doing there, is a mystery to me.

            What I did notice however, is that the nest entrance is rather untypical large for such a small species of ant. Also, very little (ant) activity is seen whereas ants generally react very sensitive to air movements. The penetration of the bee would also alert more than three workers. Would it be possible that the bee sits in front of her own nest and for temperature regulation extensively fans with the wings while ants have unfortunately already discovered this potential food source for themselves?

            Hi Anita,

            dieses Verhalten ist für mich gänzlich neu. Selbst in Verbindung mit Orchideen kannte ich es bislang nicht und was diese hübsche Biene dort tut, ist mir ebenfalls ein Rätsel.

            Was mir allerdings aufgefallen ist, ist dass der Nesteingang eher untypisch groß für eine solch kleine Ameisenart ist. Auch ist nur sehr wenig Aktivität zu erkennen, wobei Ameisen auf Luftbewegungen allgemein sehr empfindlich reagieren. Das Eindringen der Biene müsste ebenfalls mehr als drei Arbeiterinnen alarmieren.
            Wäre es eventuell möglich, dass die Biene vor ihrem eigenen Nest sitzt und zur Temperaturregulierung ausgiebig mit den Flügeln "fächert", während Ameisen diese potenzielle Nahrungsquelle leider bereits für sich entdeckt haben?

            Viele Grüße,
            Christian

            Am 03.02.2014 21:47, schrieb Howlett, Anita:

            Hi Christian

             

            Weist Du ueber dieses thema bescheid? Orchid bienen (und auch andere arten) maennchen suchen heufig scents for use in courtship…habs aber noch nie ein verhaeltniss derer art wie im gefilmten link gesehen. Du?

             

            Anita

             

             

            Anita Schiller (Howlett)

            ahowlett@...

            DRAC/MAP

            (Development, Research and Control/Mosquito Abatement Program)

             

            If You Can’t Read The Forest, It’s Just Firewood

             

            RJClogoandname-reduced copy (2)

             

          • Doug Yanega
            ... This is not likely, since the bee is a male, and male euglossines do not return to their natal nests after eclosion. Also, the leg movements are
            Message 5 of 5 , Feb 5, 2014
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              On 2/5/14 12:45 PM, Howlett, Anita wrote:
               

              Regarding the Euglossine bee behavior filmed… I forwarded the link to a biologist/ant specialist friend in Germany who had this to say:

              Hi Anita ,

              This behavior is entirely new to me. Even in connection with orchids I did not know it so far and what this pretty bee is doing there, is a mystery to me.

              What I did notice however, is that the nest entrance is rather untypical large for such a small species of ant. Also, very little (ant) activity is seen whereas ants generally react very sensitive to air movements. The penetration of the bee would also alert more than three workers. Would it be possible that the bee sits in front of her own nest and for temperature regulation extensively fans with the wings while ants have unfortunately already discovered this potential food source for themselves?

              This is not likely, since the bee is a male, and male euglossines do not return to their natal nests after eclosion. Also, the leg movements are stereotypical for male euglossines when they are gathering aromatic compounds. Accordingly, the simple explanation is that this cavity (whether it is an ant nest or not) was producing an odor (probably a terpenoid) that attracted this male to investigate, and he was trying to gather chemicals.

              Peace,
              -- 
              Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
              Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
              phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
                           http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
                "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
                      is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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