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Insects 2014, 5(3), 689-704;

Intraspecific Aggression in Giant Honey Bees (Apis dorsata)

Institute of Zoology, Karl-Franzens-University Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 February 2014 / Revised: 8 August 2014 / Accepted: 11 September 2014 / Published: 18 September 2014
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We investigated intraspecific aggression in experimental nests (expN1, expN2) of the giant honey bee Apis dorsata in Chitwan (Nepal), focusing on interactions between surface bees and two other groups of bees approaching the nest: (1) homing “nestmate” foragers landing on the bee curtain remained unmolested by guards; and (2) supposed “non-nestmate” bees, which were identified by their erratic flight patterns in front of the nest, such as hovering or sideways scanning and splaying their legs from their body, and were promptly attacked by the surface bees after landing. These supposed non-nestmate bees only occurred immediately before and after migration swarms, which had arrived in close vicinity (and were most likely scouting for a nesting site). In total, 231 of the “nestmate” foragers (fb) and 102 approaches of such purported “non-nestmate” scouts (sc) were analysed (total observation time expN1: 5.43 min) regarding the evocation of shimmering waves (sh). During their landing the “nestmate” foragers provoked less shimmering waves (relnsh[fb] = 23/231 = 0.0996, relnsh[sc] = 75/102 = 0.7353; p <0.001, χ2-test) with shorter duration (Dsh[fb] = 197 ± 17 ms, Dsh[sc] = 488 ± 16 ms; p <0.001; t-test) than “non-nestmates”. Moreover, after having landed on the nest surface, the “non-nestmates” were attacked by the surface bees (expN1, expN2: observation time >18 min) quite similarly to the defensive response against predatory wasps. Hence, the surface members of settled colonies respond differently to individual giant honey bees approaching the nest, depending on whether erratic flight patterns are displayed or not. View Full-Text
Keywords: giant honey bee; Apis dorsata; defensive behaviour; shimmering waves; nestmate recognition; intraspecific and inter-colony aggression giant honey bee; Apis dorsata; defensive behaviour; shimmering waves; nestmate recognition; intraspecific and inter-colony aggression

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Weihmann, F.; Waddoup, D.; Hötzl, T.; Kastberger, G. Intraspecific Aggression in Giant Honey Bees (Apis dorsata). Insects 2014, 5, 689-704.

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