1067-4136/04/3504- © 2004
Russian Journal of Ecology, Vol. 35, No. 4, 2004, pp. 259–262. Translated from Ekologiya, No. 4, 2004, pp. 297–300.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2004 by Lopatin, Tregub.
The primitively eusocial bee
(Rossi) prefers ﬂowers of the Compositae, although
this species is polylectic (Pesenko
makes nests in the ground; each nest
consists of 32 cells, and there are usually as many as
eight females in a colony (Lopatin, 2002). Bonelli
(1966) has mentioned some characteristics of the forag-
ing behavior of
However, there are no
published data on the species afﬁliation of pollen in the
nests of this bee. The food store for larvae is formed
into a pasty loaf consisting of pollen and nectar. Usu-
ally, one cell is built and provisioned during a day. The
cells where eggs or larvae have died are ﬁlled with com-
pacted soil (Lopatin, 2002).
MATERIAL AND METHODS
We studied the behavior of bees and the content of
cells in an aggregation of nests located near the Venevi-
tinovo Biological Training and Research Center of Vor-
onezh State University in the ﬂoodplain of the Usman’
River (25 km southeast of Voronezh). For individual
identiﬁcation of foragers, we used the standard method
of marking the abdominal tergites with quick-drying
dyes. Nests 1 and 2 were dug out in the autumn of 1996
and nest 3, in August 1999. All nests were studied after
the colonies died out. Pollen from cells where eggs or
larvae died were used for analysis.
At least 475 plant species grow in the ﬂoodplain
meadows of the Usman’ River and its tributaries. Herb–
fescue phytocenoses form the main background of the
meadows along the southern part of the river (Mukovn-
ina, 1984). Plants growing close to the aggregation of
nests and pollen found in the food stores of
belonged to 101 species from 29 families, includ-
ing trees and shrubs. Pollen was identiﬁed as recom-
mended by Kupriyanova and Aleshina (1972, 1978). In
each sample, we identiﬁed the species of 150–250 pol-
len grains. The Latin names of families are indicated
according to Takhtadzhyan (1987) and the species
names according to Cherepanov (1995).
The distances of the foraging ﬂights of female
varied from 1–2 to 10–15 m. A typical
colony at the eusocial stage included as many as eight
workers, six of which foraged on the same day. Six or
seven loads of pollen were usually required to provision
We found pollen of 12 and 17 plant species in nests 2
and 1, respectively; ﬁve of these species, including the
preferred food plants, were common for both nests. In
total, we found pollen of 24 plant species from
12 families (Fig. 1). We pooled the data on nests 1 and 2,
because their cells were similar with respect to pollen
composition and the entrances to the nests were located
only 4 cm apart. Nest 3 contained pollen of 20 plant
species from 10 families (table; Fig. 2).
Among the plants growing in the meadow within a
distance of 150 m from the
nests, 17 spe-
cies whose pollen we found in the nests were absent.
Evidently, either these species were very rare near the
nests or the bees brought this pollen from distances of
several hundred meters. For example, pollen of
accounted for 20.5 and
14.8% of pollen in some cells of nest 3 (Fig. 2). Appar-
ently, one of the females had to travel at least 300–
400 m to collect this pollen, which considerably
exceeds the usual length of foraging ﬂights.
Studying Trophic Relationships
of the Bee
(Rossi) (Hymenoptera, Halictidae)
by Analyzing Pollen from Nest Cells
A. V. Lopatin and T. F. Tregub
Voronezh State University, Universitetskaya pl. 1, Voronezh, 394006 Russia
Received March 13, 2003
–Pollen of 42 plant species from 17 families has been found in the food stores of
nests, with 61–86% of the pollen being accounted for by the Compositae. The foragers are characterized by
strict ﬂower preferences: more than 90% of the pollen in each cell belongs to two or three, sometimes four, plant
species. At the eusocial stage of the existence of a colony, two or three foragers usually provision each cell. In
especially large colonies, foragers are divided into groups and provision several cells during the day.
: bees, Halictidae, trophic relationships, food store, behavior, foraging, pollen, sociality, nesting.