Abstract Detail

Symbioses: Plant, Animal, and Microbe Interactions

Dandavate, Rohan [1], S, Sandhya [1], Shrotri, Saket [2], Kaur, Sukhraj [2], Gowda, Vinita [4].

Foraging behavior of Indian honeybee: Are bees specialists at an individual level?

Plant pollinator interactions play an important role in the terrestrial ecosystem with the behavior of each affecting the other, thus shaping the diversity of each other. Among these interactions, specialist interactions have coevolved in tight one to one manner making the plant and pollinator species involved, dependent on each other. (Nicolson & Wright, 2017) This relationship is a possible way by which pollinator specialization leads to floral diversity. This speculation is challenged by the fact that, co-flowering species pollinated by the same generalist pollinator display large floral diversity. One hypothesis to explain this paradox is that individuals of a generalist pollinator species might have individual preferences for particular floral characteristics, that is exhibit floral constancy (FC) (Márquez & Marisol, 2009) thus exerting similar selection pressure as a specialist pollinator. (Chittka & Thomson, 2005)
We chose to test this hypothesis in honeybees (Apis cerana indica) since they are known to be generalist pollinators, pollinating a large number of species. We analyzed pollen sacs which are used by honeybees to transport pollen from flowers, at two bee boxes established on the Kaas plateau in northern western ghats, India which is a sky island with over 850 flowering species. 30 sacs were collected, thrice a month for September and October, 2021 from one bee box and once in September and thrice in October for the other (Flowering season: August - October). To compare the constancy as well as pollen sac content with the available flowering plants, a census of the plateau was conducted near the time of each set of pollen sac collection. The pollen sacs were analyzed for the number of types of pollen and it was found that all individuals majorly carried pollen of only one species. Thus, individual bees were found to exhibit floral constancy. We observed that the proportion of the major pollen in the pollen sac was the lowest just before floral diversity reached the maximum and then remained nearly constant and equal to one throughout the flowering season. We hypothesize that this may be because the bees were forming preferences which were finalized by the time all flowering plants were present in abundance. Consequently we expect the floral constancy to be lowest at the very beginning of the flowering season. The same may also happen at the end of the flowering season due to unavailability of enough resources from the flowers that they have a preference for.
Chittka, L., & Thomson, J. D. (2005). Cognitive Ecology of Pollination: Animal Behaviour and Floral Evolution. Cambridge University Press.
Amaya-Márquez¹, Marisol. (2009). Floral constancy in bees: a revision of theories and a comparison with other pollinators. Revista Colombiana de Entomología, 35(2), 206-216.
Nicolson, S. W., & Wright, G. A. (2017). Plant–pollinator interactions and threats to pollination: perspectives from the flower to the landscape. Functional Ecology, 31(1), 22–25.

1 - IISER Bhopal, Biological Sciences, Bhopal Bypass Road, Bhauri, Bhopal, MP, 462066, India
2 -
3 - Indian Institute Of Science Education And Research Bhopal, Biological Sciences, Bhauri, Bhopal, MP, 462066, India
4 - IISER Bhopal, Room 223, AB3, Dept. Of Biological Sciences,, IISER- Bhopal, Bhopal Bypass Road, Bhauri,, Bhopal, MP, 462066, India

Apis cerana indica
Floral Constancy

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: SYM1006
Abstract ID:476
Candidate for Awards:None

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