Intra- and interspecific nestmate recognition in Melipona workers (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

Michael D. Breed, Robert E. Page

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The possible significance of nestmate recognition in prevention of robbing and parasitism in three species of stingless bees was assessed. Nestmate discrimination abilities vary among them; Melipona quadrifasciata workers attacked 74% of nonnestmate conspecifics that were encountered, while M. scutellaris and M. rufiventris were less discriminating, attacking only 14 and 60% of non-nestmates, respectively. In tests of interspecific interactions, M. quadrifasciata and M. scutellaris were the least mutually tolerant of all species pairs tested. Tests with Apis mellifera showed a high degree of intolerance by two of the three Melipona species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-469
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 1991


  • Apis mellifera
  • Melipona
  • nestmate recognition
  • stingless bees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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