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Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society





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These are the first observations of the behavior of any allodapine social parasite. Both sexes of Braunsapis kaliago live in solitary and social nests of B. mixta in northwestern India. Direct intranest observations revealed that female B. kaliago may functionally replace host queens, much as do Psithyrus in Bombus nests. Parasites usually avoided encounters with hosts by freezing behavior and by quietly resting near the brood. Dominance was sometimes asserted by means of oophagy, and by several specialized agonistic behaviors which were enhanced by structural modifications. Established females became unable to fly effectively, and if pushed out of nests by hosts, they could not return. One parasite evidently was killed by hosts. Parasites relied on host food stores deposited on nest walls or on larvae, and they also aggressively solicited food by trophallaxis from hosts. Both hosts and parasites groomed their brood. They removed and ate chorions during hatching, a behavior unknown in other oviparous animals. Larvae were fed by the ventral deposition of provisions by both hosts and parasites. Adult-larval trophallaxis by both species was also seen. This is unknown among other bees. Braunsapis kaliago retains most brood-rearing behaviors but has lost the abilities to construct nests and to forage. 51 behaviors of male and female B. kaliago are described and compared with those of B. mixta. These nonforaging parasites may reduce populations of foraging and pollinating host bees.

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