Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (1): 25-34, 2014 | 10.14411/eje.2014.004

Pollen types collected by Tetragonisca angustula (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in dry vegetation in Northeastern Brazil

Jaílson Santos De NOVAIS1,2, Maria Lúcia ABSY2, Francisco De Assis Ribeiro Dos SANTOS3
1 Centro de Formação Interdisciplinar and Laboratório de Botânica Taxonômica, Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará (UFOPA), Rua Vera Paz, s/n, Salé, 68035-110 Santarém, PA, Brazil; e-mail: jailson.novais@ufopa.edu.br
2 Laboratório de Palinologia, Coordenação de Biodiversidade, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA), Av. André Araújo, 2.936, Petrópolis, 69067-375 Manaus, AM, Brazil; e-mail: lucia.absy@gmail.com
3 Laboratório de Micromorfologia Vegetal, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana (UEFS), Av. Transnordestina, s/n, 4036-900 Feira de Santana, BA, Brazil; e-mail: fasantos@uefs.br

Knowing the floral origin of the pollen collected by native bees in Neotropical ecosystems enables us to understand the dynamics of the interdependent relationships between the insects and the native flora. The objectives of this study were to: (i) investigate the spectrum of plant species from which pollen is collected by Tetragonisca angustula in caatinga (dry vegetation) areas in the semiarid region of Northeastern Brazil; (ii) identify pollen types that could be used as regional geographical markers and (iii) determine the pollen niche breadth and the pattern of use of floral resources by this stingless bee. In total, 23 samples of the pollen stored by T. angustula were collected monthly and subjected to acetolysis. Of the 45 pollen types identified that of Prosopis juliflora (Fabaceae) and Solanum (Solanaceae) were the most frequently represented in the samples and 19 were collected by the bees at both study sites. Species characteristic of caatinga, such as Poincianella pyramidalis (Tulasne) L.P. Queiroz and Senna macranthera (de Candolle ex Colladon) H.S. Irwin & Barneby, were among the pollen identified and they were used as indicators of the geographical origin of the samples. The average values of the pollen niche breadth (H') and equitability (J') indicate that T. angustula is a generalist and homogeneous forager of the floral resources in caatinga.

Keywords: Hymenoptera, Apidae, Tetragonisca angustula, stingless bee foraging, caatinga dry vegetation, entomopalynology, melissopalynology, pot-pollen

Received: May 9, 2013; Accepted: September 6, 2013; Published: January 9, 2014


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