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Psyche
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 630628, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/630628
Research Article

Foraging of Scaptotrigona aff. depilis (Hymenoptera, Apidae) in an Urbanized Area: Seasonality in Resource Availability and Visited Plants

1Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Avenida Bandeirantes, 3900, 14040-901 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil
2Departamento de Ciências Animais, Universidade Federal Rural do Semi-Árido, Avenida Francisco Mota, 572, 59625-900 Mossoró, RN, Brazil

Received 1 August 2012; Accepted 17 September 2012

Academic Editor: Kleber Del-Claro

Copyright © 2012 Letícia Biral de Faria et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The floral sources used by bees can be identified by analyzing pollen grains obtained from their bodies, feces, brood cells, or storage pots in the nests. In addition to data on resource availability, this information enables the investigation on the selection of food resource by bees. We assessed the foraging patterns of Scaptotrigona aff. depilis in an urbanized area with seasonal availability of food resources. The species visited a percentage of 36.60% of the available flora, suggesting that these bees are selective at spatiotemporal scale. When many types of resources were available, the workers concentrated their collection activities on a limited group of sources. In contrast, more plant species were exploited during periods of lower number of flowering plants. A monthly analysis of the foraging patterns of the studied colonies revealed that Syzygium cumini (88.86%), Mimosa sp.1 (80.23%), Schinus terebinthifolius (63.36%), and Eucalyptus citriodora (61.75%) were the most frequently used species and are therefore important for maintaining S. aff. depilis at the study area. These plants are close to the colonies and exhibit mass flowering. This study is one of few works to quantify natural resource availability and to analyze the effects of flowering seasonality on the selection of food sources by bees.