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Assessing stingless bee pollen diet by analysis of garbage pellets: a new method

Publication Date
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2001134
  • [Sdv:Ba:Zi] Life Sciences/Animal Biology/Invertebrate Zoology
  • [Sdv:Ba:Zi] Sciences Du Vivant/Biologie Animale/Zoologie Des Invertébrés
  • [Sdv:Bid] Life Sciences/Biodiversity
  • [Sdv:Bid] Sciences Du Vivant/Biodiversité
  • [Sdv:Ee] Life Sciences/Ecology
  • Environment
  • [Sdv:Ee] Sciences Du Vivant/Ecologie
  • Environnement
  • [Sdv:Sa:Spa] Life Sciences/Agricultural Sciences/Animal Production Studies
  • [Sdv:Sa:Spa] Sciences Du Vivant/Sciences Agricoles/Science Des Productions Animales
  • Pollen Foraging
  • Resource Use
  • Pollen Trap
  • Feces
  • Fecal Pellets


Studies on pollen resources by stingless bees frequently suffer from low sample size due to difficulties concerning the acquisition of harvested pollen. Here we describe a funnel-trap that allows non-invasive and automated sampling of pollen-rich garbage pellets that are expelled from colonies by workers bees. Single garbage pellets of Trigona collina from Sabah, Malaysia, contained between 7 and 11 different morphotypes of pollen and the similarity of the pollen composition of pellets expelled by a given colony on a given day was very high (quantitative Steinhaus index: 71 to 90% ). The turn-over of pollen types in samples taken at consecutive points in time was relatively low over periods of three weeks (52 to 75% similarity) and variable over periods of four to six months (13.6 to 58.5% similarity). The comparison of pollen in corbicular loads and garbage pellets indicates that garbage pollen is derived from both feces of pollen-consuming workers and larval feces (meconia). The slow turn-over of pollen in garbage suggests that sampling at relatively long intervals (4-6 months) will be sufficient for a crude assessment of long-term pollen resources of stingless bee colonies.

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