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Nest architecture and use of floral oil in the oil-collecting South African solitary bee Rediviva intermixta (Cockerell) (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Melittidae)

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Nest architecture, use of floral oil for brood cell lining and pollen collecting are described for the first time for the genus Rediviva, using the South African endemic oil-collecting solitary bee species R ediviva intermixta. The nest consists of a dead-end vertical tunnel with a single brood cell located at the end of each of several horizontally branching lateral tunnels. Brood cells are lined with a thin layer of waxy material, presumably derived from chemically modified floral oil. Rediviva intermixta is a pollen generalist but relies on a small number of host plant species for oil-collecting. Brood cells are provisioned with pollen from at least six plant families, but with a preference for non-oil-producing Scrophulariaceae. The nesting biology and Dufour’s gland size of the species are discussed and compared with the closely related genera Melitta and Redivivoides (non-oil-collecting) and Macropis (oil-collecting). The differences between Macropis and Rediviva suggest that oil-collecting in the two genera evolved independently.
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Keywords: Rediviva; floral host; nesting biology; oil-collecting; solitary bee

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London, UK

Publication date: November 25, 2014

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