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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Effect of Diet Breadth and Nesting Ecology on Body Size Variation in Bees (Apiformes)

Authors
item Roulston, T'ai - N. CAROLINA ST.-ENTOMOLOG
item Cane, James

Submitted to: Journal of Kansas Entomological Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Modest variation in body size is a hallmark of animal species, including our native bees, whose offspring are provisioned with a single cache of pollen and nectar. We compared body size variation of closely - related bee species that differ in diet breadth or nesting habit. Despite the more consistent diet, specialists vary as much as in size as generalists. However, cavity-nesting species are more variable in size than ground- nesting species, perhaps because natal nest cell dimensions of cavity nesters vary with available cavity diameters.

Technical Abstract: Body size in bees influences their survival, mating, fecundity and sometimes pollination prowess. Within a bee species, larger individuals seem more fit, so why does body size vary? We compared body sizes for pairs of related bee species that differ in diet breadth and nesting habit. Despite the more consistent diet, specialists vary as much in size as generalists. However, cavity-nesting species are more variable in size than ground-nesting species, perhaps because natal nest cell dimensions of cavity nesters vary with available cavity diameters.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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