Caro A, Moo-Valle H, Alfaro R, Quezada-Euán JJG (2017) Pollination services of Africanized honey bees and native Melipona beecheii to buzz-pollinated annatto (Bixa orellana L.) in the neotropics. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 19: 274-280.
Servicios de polinización por abejas africanizadas y la abeja nativa Melipona beecheii a buzz-pollinated achiote (Bixa orellana L.) en el neotrópico
- Africanized honey bees (AHBs) are the predominant flower visitors of many plants in the neotropics, although little evidence is available on their efficiency as pollinators on native crops, in particular those requiring especialized pollination services such as flower sonication.
- Annatto (Bixa orellana) is a buzz-pollinated neotropical tree. We compared the pollination service provided by AHBs and native Melipona beecheii (Mb) to annatto in the Yucatan. We investigated if the different ability of both species to sonicate would have an impact on the production of this crop.
- AHBs were notably more abundant on flowers (73.8%) compared with Mb (21.3%). However, AHBs deposited significantly less pollen on the stigma and produced less fruits, with fewer seeds and weight, than Mb. A higher pollination index efficiency was obtained for Mb (0.9) compared with AHBs (0.6).
- AHBs did not sonicate annatto flowers and gleaned the pollen released after Mb visits, which suggests that they act as commensals of the latter.
- By acting as commensals, AHBs, despite their high abundance, appear to marginally contribute to the pollination of annatto. Studies conducted under scenarios with a differential abundance of AHBs and efficient sonicating species are necessary to test this hypothesis on annatto and other buzz-pollinated plants in the neotropics.
PDF Agric. Forest Entom.