Vibrational signals of African stingless bees
- Insectes Sociaux 期刊
- Many bee species produce thoracic vibrations in various contexts. Among the social stingless bees (Meliponini) pulsed thoracic vibrations are used to communicate with nestmates. To date all studies on stingless bee vibrational communication have been conducted in the Neotropics. We, therefore, focused on six African stingless bee species of five genera: Meliponula, Hypotrigona, Liotrigona, Dactylurina, Plebeina. We analysed the signals’ temporal patterns. Vibrational signals appear to play a role in the recruitment of stingless bees. The degree of signal variation in the studied species was much lower than the variation in the signals of Neotropical stingless bees. Furthermore, the inter-signal variation of the temporal patterns exceeded intra-signal variation. This might reveal that the bees are able to modulate the temporal patterns and the signals potential communicative value. Furthermore, foraging activity correlates with pulse production in H. gribodoi and M. bocandei, supporting the hypothesis that the vibrational signals are used in the context of foraging and recruitment.