Supplementary material from "Enemy recognition is linked to soldier size in a polymorphic stingless bee"

Published on 2017-09-25T10:37:53Z (GMT) by
Many ant and termite colonies are defended by soldiers with powerful mandibles or chemical weaponry. Recently, it was reported that several stingless bee species also have soldiers for colony defence. These soldiers are larger than foragers, but otherwise lack obvious morphological adaptations for defence. Thus, how these soldiers improve colony fitness is not well understood. Robbing is common in stingless bees and we hypothesized that increased body size improves the ability to recognize intruders based on chemosensory cues. We studied the Neotropical species <i>Tetragonisca angustula</i> and found that large soldiers were better than small soldiers at recognizing potential intruders. Larger soldiers also had more olfactory pore plates on their antennae, which is likely to increase their chemosensory sensitivity. Our results suggest that improved enemy recognition might select for increased guard size in stingless bees.

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Grüter, Christoph; Segers, Francisca H. I. D.; Santos, Luana L. G.; Hammel, Benedikt; Zimmermann, Uwe; Nascimento, Fabio S. (2017): Supplementary material from "Enemy recognition is linked to soldier size in a polymorphic stingless bee". The Royal Society. Collection.