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UBICACIÓN Mérida Yucatán
Medina RG, Fairbairn DJ, Bustillos A, Moo-Valle H, Medina S,
Quezada-Euán J J G (2016) Variable patterns of intraspecific sexual size
dimorphism and allometry in three species of eusocial corbiculate bees.
Insectes Sociaux 63: 493-500
Sexual size dimorphism
(SSD), in which one sex is larger than the other, has remained
understudied in social insects, particularly bees. Using weight and
linear structural measurements, we quantified the magnitude of SSD and
its variation across nests in three species of corbiculate bees, two
belonging to the highly eusocial Apini (Apis mellifera) and Meliponini (Melipona beecheii), and one to the primitively eusocial Euglossini (Euglossa viridissima).
We asked if similar to most insects, including Hymenoptera, SSD is
female-biased in these eusocial species. Contrary to expectations, we
found that SSD was moderately male-biased in the two highly eusocial
species and slightly male-biased for weight and not significant for
linear size in E. viridissima. The
possible roles of queen protogyny and reduced brood provisioning by
queens in shaping these patterns of SSD are discussed. The allometry of
SSD among nests differed among species as well, ranging from
hypoallometry in A. mellifera, to isometry in M. beecheii, to hyperallometry in E. viridissima.
This variation indicates that the phenotypic response of body size to
differing conditions across nests differs both between sexes and among
species. The variation detected among the three studied species in both
SSD and allometry for SSD precludes any broad generalizations to other
corbiculate bees. However, it does suggest that corbiculate bees can
provide a new and diverse framework to analyze the effects of social
environment on the evolution of animal sexual dimorphism.