Alberto Burquez

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Pan-Pacific Entomolgist





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Euglossine and meliponine bees are predominantly distributed within the American tropics (Dressler, R.L. 1982. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 13: 373-384; Roubik, D.W. 1989. Ecology and Natural History of Tropical Bees. Cambridge, Univ. Press). Despite the extensive collections of euglossine bees with chemical baits, few extra-tropical records have been reported (Moure, J.S. 1967. At. Simp. Biota Amazon., 5: 395-415; Kimsey, L.S. & Dressler, R.L. 1986. Pan-Pacific Entomol., 62: 229-236; Kimsey, L.S. 1987. Syst. Entomol., 12: 63-72). Nevertheless, some species occur outside the geographic tropics. In South America there are reports of euglossine and meliponine bees as far south as 32° S (Moure 1967. Wittmann, D., Hoffmann, M. & Scholz, E. 1988. Entomol. Generalis, 14: 53-60), but in the Northern Hemisphere it has been thought, until recently, that their distribution was restricted to about 25° N (Roubik 1989), in the Sierra Madre Oriental and central Mexico. During the summers of 1991 and 1993 to 1995 bee collections have been made in several localities in southern Sonora, Mexico (Table 1). These include Nannotrigona perilampoides (Cresson), and Euglossa viridissima Friese. The former has been collected in wild nests in trunks of Jpomoea arborescens (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) G. Don in the Sierra de Alamos, and from domestic hives kept by Rafael Figueroa at his carpentry in Alamos, Sonora. Male and female specimens of Eg. viridissima have been collected visiting flowers of Tecoma stans (L.) Juss ex H.B.K. and Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) Scum ex Engler & Prantl. However, other plants known to be visited and pollinated almost strictly by euglossine bees are present in the area. These include a large complement of orchids, tropical trees, and vines like Dalechampia scandens L. (Armbuster, W.S. & Webster, G.L. 1979. Biotropica, 11: 278-283) that are known to be used by euglossine and meliponine bees as food, and also as fragrance and resin sources for attraction and nest building. Males of euglossine bees were also lured with fragrances of eugenol, methyl salycilate, vanillin, and eucalyptol. However, in this study they were only attracted to eugenol.

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