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Bumble bee

Kyle T Martins, Cécile H Albert, Martin J Lechowicz, Andrew Gonzalez
Wild bees, which are important for commercial pollination, depend on floral and nesting resources both at farms and in the surrounding landscape. Mass-flowering crops are only in bloom for a few weeks and unable to support bee populations that persist throughout the year. Farm fields and orchards that flower in succession potentially can extend the availability of floral resources for pollinators. However, it is unclear whether the same bee species or genera will forage from one crop to the next, which bees specialize on particular crops, and to what degree inter-crop visitation patterns will be mediated by landscape context...
March 1, 2018: Ecological Applications: a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
M P Bartkowska, Ay-C Wong, S P Sagar, L Zeng, C G Eckert
By reducing genetically effective population size and gene flow, self-fertilization should lead to strong spatial genetic structure (SGS). Although the short-lived plant Aquilegia canadensis produces large, complex, nectar-rich flowers, 75% of seed, on average, are self-fertilized. Previous experimental results are consistent with the fine-scale SGS expected in selfing populations. In contrast, key floral traits show no evidence of SGS, despite a significant genetic basis to phenotypic variation within populations...
March 1, 2018: Heredity
A M Twidle, D Barker, A G Seal, B Fedrizzi, D M Suckling
Volatiles emitted from unpollinated in situ flowers were collected from two male cultivars, 'M33', 'M91', and one female cultivar 'Zesy002' (Gold3) of kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis var. chinensis). The samples were found to contain 48 compounds across the three cultivars with terpenes and straight chain alkenes dominating the headspace. Electrophysiological responses of honey bees (Apis mellifera) and bumble bees (Bombus terrestris) to the headspace of the kiwifruit flowers were recorded. Honey bees consistently responded to 11 floral volatiles from Gold3 pistillate flowers while bumble bees consistently responded to only five compounds from the pistillate flowers...
February 27, 2018: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Evan C Palmer-Young, Austin C Calhoun, Anastasiya Mirzayeva, Ben M Sadd
Ecological and evolutionary pressures on hosts and parasites jointly determine infection success. In pollinators, parasite exposure to floral phytochemicals may influence between-host transmission and within-host replication. In the bumble bee parasite Crithidia bombi, strains vary in phytochemical resistance, and resistance increases under in vitro selection, implying that resistance/infectivity trade-offs could maintain intraspecific variation in resistance. We assessed costs and benefits of in vitro selection for resistance to the floral phytochemical eugenol on C...
February 1, 2018: Scientific Reports
Joshua W Campbell, Jaret C Daniels, James D Ellis
Pollinators provide essential services for watermelon, Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.; Cucurbitales: Cucurbitaceae). Managed bumble bees, Bombus impatiens (Cresson; Hymenoptera: Apidae), have been shown to be a useful watermelon pollinator in some areas. However, the exact contribution bumble bees make to watermelon pollination and how their contribution compares to that of other bees is unclear. We used large cages (5.4 × 2.5 × 2.4 m) to confine bumble bee hives to watermelon plants and compared fruit set in those cages to cages containing watermelons but no pollinators, and to open areas of field next to cages (allows all pollinators)...
January 27, 2018: Journal of Economic Entomology
J Price, M C Harrison, R L Hammond, S Adams, J F Gutierrez-Marcos, E B Mallon
Phenotypic plasticity is when one genome can produce more than one phenotype. The caste system found in many social insects is an important example of plasticity. Several studies have examined gene expression in social insect developmental and caste differences. Changes in gene expression, however, are not the only source of phenotypic plasticity. Here we investigate the role of alternative splicing in the buff tailed bumble bee Bombus terrestris. We found that 5458 genes in Bombus terrestris (40%) express more than one isoform...
January 29, 2018: Molecular Ecology
Blair K Mockler, Waldan K Kwong, Nancy A Moran, Hauke Koch
Recent declines in bumble bee populations are of great concern, and have prompted critical evaluations of the role of pathogen introductions and host resistance in bee health. One factor that may influence host resilience when facing infection is the gut microbiota. Previous experiments with Bombus terrestris, a European bumble bee, showed that the gut microbiota can protect against Crithidia bombi, a widespread trypanosomatid parasite of bumble bees. However, the particular characteristics of the microbiome responsible for this protective effect have thus far eluded identification...
January 26, 2018: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Vanessa Corby-Harris, Lucy Snyder, Charlotte Meador, Trace Ayotte
Honey bee workers (Apis mellifera) consume a variety of pollens to meet the majority of their requirements for protein and lipids. Recent work indicates that honey bees prefer diets that reflect the proper ratio of nutrients necessary for optimal survival and homeostasis. This idea relies on the precept that honey bees evaluate the nutritional composition of the foods provided to them. While this has been shown in bumble bees, the data for honey bees are mixed. Further, there is controversy as to whether foragers can evaluate the nutritional value of pollens, especially if they do not consume it...
2018: PloS One
Chris R Smith, Claire Morandin, Moataz Noureddine, Swati Pant
Much of the variation among insects is derived from the different ways that chitin has been molded to form rigid structures, both internal and external. In this study, we identify a highly conserved expression pattern in an insect-only gene family, the Osiris genes, that is essential for development, but also plays a significant role in phenotypic plasticity and in immunity/toxicity responses. The majority of Osiris genes exist in a highly syntenic cluster, and the cluster itself appears to have arisen very early in the evolution of insects...
January 10, 2018: Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Paul Schmid-Hempel, Markus Aebi, Seth Barribeau, Toshihiko Kitajima, Louis du Plessis, Regula Schmid-Hempel, Stefan Zoller
Trypanosomatids (Trypanosomatidae, Kinetoplastida) are flagellated protozoa containing many parasites of medical or agricultural importance. Among those, Crithidia bombi and C. expoeki, are common parasites in bumble bees around the world, and phylogenetically close to Leishmania and Leptomonas. They have a simple and direct life cycle with one host, and partially castrate the founding queens greatly reducing their fitness. Here, we report the nuclear genome sequences of one clone of each species, extracted from a field-collected infection...
2018: PloS One
Judy Wu-Smart, Marla Spivak
Neonicotinoids are highly toxic to insects and may systemically translocate to nectar and pollen of plants where foraging bees may become exposed. Exposure to neonicotinoids can induce detrimental sublethal effects on individual and colonies of bees and may have long-term impacts, such as impaired foraging, reduced longevity, and reduced brood care or production. Less well-studied are the potential effects on queen bumble bees that may become exposed while foraging in the spring during colony initiation. This study assessed queen survival and nest founding in caged bumble bees [Bombus impatiens (Cresson) (Hymenoptera: Apidae)] after chronic (18-d) dietary exposure of imidacloprid in syrup (1, 5, 10, and 25 ppb) and pollen (0...
December 13, 2017: Environmental Entomology
Margaret I Steele, Waldan K Kwong, Marvin Whiteley, Nancy A Moran
Microbial communities are shaped by interactions among their constituent members. Some Gram-negative bacteria employ type VI secretion systems (T6SSs) to inject protein toxins into neighboring cells. These interactions have been theorized to affect the composition of host-associated microbiomes, but the role of T6SSs in the evolution of gut communities is not well understood. We report the discovery of two T6SSs and numerous T6SS-associated Rhs toxins within the gut bacteria of honey bees and bumble bees. We sequenced the genomes of 28 strains of Snodgrassella alvi, a characteristic bee gut microbe, and found tremendous variability in their Rhs toxin complements: altogether, these strains appear to encode hundreds of unique toxins...
December 12, 2017: MBio
Rachel E Mallinger, Hannah R Gaines-Day, Claudio Gratton
Managed bees are critical for crop pollination worldwide. As the demand for pollinator-dependent crops increases, so does the use of managed bees. Concern has arisen that managed bees may have unintended negative impacts on native wild bees, which are important pollinators in both agricultural and natural ecosystems. The goal of this study was to synthesize the literature documenting the effects of managed honey bees and bumble bees on wild bees in three areas: (1) competition for floral and nesting resources, (2) indirect effects via changes in plant communities, including the spread of exotic plants and decline of native plants, and (3) transmission of pathogens...
2017: PloS One
Maxime Drossart, Denis Michez, Maryse Vanderplanck
It is now well established that invasive plants may induce drifts in the quantity and/or quality of floral resources. They are then often pointed out as a potential driver of bee decline. However, their impact on bee population remains quite unclear and still controversial, as bee responses are highly variable among species. Here, we compared the amino acid composition of pollen from three native and two invasive plant species included in diets of common pollinators in NW Europe. Moreover, the nutritional intake (i...
November 24, 2017: Scientific Reports
Nezahat Pınar Barkan, Mustafa Bilal Bayazit, Duygu Ozel Demiralp
Venomous animals use venom, a complex biofluid composed of unique mixtures of proteins and peptides, to act on vital systems of the prey or predator. In bees, venom is solely used for defense against predators. However, the venom composition of bumble bees ( Bombus sp.) is largely unknown. The Thoracobombus subgenus of Bombus sp. is a diverse subgenus represented by 14 members across Turkey. In this study, we sought out to proteomically characterize the venom of five Thoracobombus species by using bottom-up proteomic techniques...
November 11, 2017: Toxins
Robert Potts, Rebecca M Clarke, Sophie E Oldfield, Lisa K Wood, Natalie Hempel de Ibarra, James E Cresswell
For bumble bees (genus Bombus), the capacity for non-flight thermogenesis is essential for two fundamental processes undertaken by adult workers, namely recovery from torpor after chilling and brood incubation. Farmland bees can be widely exposed to dietary residues of neurotoxic neonicotinoid insecticides that appear in the nectar and pollen of treated bee-attractive crops, which may harm them. An earlier study shows that dietary neonicotinoids cause complex alterations to thermoregulation in honey bees, but their effects on the thermogenic capabilities of individual bumble bees has been untested previously...
November 10, 2017: Journal of Insect Physiology
Jakub Prokop, Manuel Dehon, Denis Michez, Michael S Engel
A new species of fossil bumble bee (Apinae: Bombini) is described and figured from Early Miocene (Burdigalian) deposits of the Most Basin at the Bílina Mine, Czech Republic. Bombus trophoniussp. n., is placed within the subgenus Cullumanobombus Vogt and distinguished from the several species groups therein. The species is apparently most similar to the Nearctic B. (Cullumanobombus) rufocinctus Cresson, the earliest-diverging species within the clade and the two may be related only by symplesiomorphies. The age of the fossil is in rough accordance with divergence estimations for Cullumanobombus...
2017: ZooKeys
Ken Sasaki, Hinako Matsuyama, Naruaki Morita, Masato Ono
A society of bumble bees is primitively eusocial, with an annual life cycle, and can be used as a physiological model of social bees for comparative studies with highly eusocial hymenopterans. We investigated the dynamics of biogenic amine levels in the brain, meso-metathoracic ganglia, terminal abdominal ganglion, and hemolymph in queens 1 day after mating (1DAM), during diapause (Dp), and during colony founding (CF) in the bumble bee, Bombus ignitus. Dopamine levels in the brain of CF queens were significantly lower than in 1DAM and Dp queens, and the levels in the thoracic ganglia and hemolymph in CF queens were lower than in 1DAM queens, but did not differ from other groups in the abdominal ganglion...
November 2017: Journal of Insect Physiology
Hao Wang, Guo-Xing Cao, Lin-Lin Wang, Yong-Ping Yang, Zhi-Qiang Zhang, Yuan-Wen Duan
Examining variations in pollinator effectiveness can enhance our understanding of how pollinators and plants interact. Pollen deposition and seed production after a single visit by a pollinator are often used to estimate pollinator effectiveness. However, seed production is not always directly related to pollen deposition because not all pollen grains that are deposited on a stigma are compatible or conspecific. In the field, we tested pollinator effectiveness based on pollen deposition and the resulting seed production after single visits by different pollinator groups in a gynodieocious alpine plant Cyananthus delavayi (Campanulaceae)...
October 2017: Ecology and Evolution
Cinthya Cervantes, Anai Alvarez, Eduardo Cuevas
In sexually dimorphic species, hermaphrodite flowers in gynodioecious species, or male flowers in dioecious species, often are larger and produce more nectar than their conspecific female flowers. As a consequence, hermaphrodite or male flowers frequently receive more pollinator visits. Sex ratio, flower size, floral display, nectar production and floral visits were evaluated in two natural populations of Fuchsia thymifolia, a morphologically gynodioecious but functionally subdioecious insect-pollinated shrub...
October 25, 2017: Plant Biology
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