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North Richmond, Australia

Greco M.K.,Agroscope Liebefeld Posieux Research Station | Greco M.K.,University of Western Sydney | Hoffmann D.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | Hoffmann D.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 5 more authors.
Naturwissenschaften | Year: 2010

Workers from social insect colonies use different defence strategies to combat invaders. Nevertheless, some parasitic species are able to bypass colony defences. In particular, some beetle nest invaders cannot be killed or removed by workers of social bees, thus creating the need for alternative social defence strategies to ensure colony survival. Here we show, using diagnostic radioentomology, that stingless bee workers (Trigona carbonaria) immediately mummify invading adult small hive beetles (Aethina tumida) alive by coating them with a mixture of resin, wax and mud, thereby preventing severe damage to the colony. In sharp contrast to the responses of honeybee and bumblebee colonies, the rapid live mummification strategy of T. carbonaria effectively prevents beetle advancements and removes their ability to reproduce. The convergent evolution of mummification in stingless bees and encapsulation in honeybees is another striking example of co-evolution between insect societies and their parasites. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.

Halcroft M.T.,University of Western Sydney | Dollin A.,Australian Native Bee Research Center | Francoy T.M.,University of Sao Paulo | King J.E.,University of Western Sydney | And 3 more authors.
Apidologie | Year: 2016

Austroplebeia Moure is an Australian stingless bee genus. The current descriptions for the species within this genus are inadequate for the identification of specimens in either the field or the laboratory. Here, using multiple diagnostic methodologies, we attempted to better delimit morphologically identified groups within Austroplebeia. First, morphological data, based on worker bee colour, size and pilosity, were analysed. Then, males collected from nests representing morphologically similar groups were dissected, and their genitalia were imaged using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Next, data for the geometric morphometric analysis of worker wing venations were obtained. Finally, molecular analysis, using mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA (16S rDNA), was conducted on workers from representative nests for each group which displayed morphological similarities. Data deriving from the four different diagnostic approaches were compared, resulting in the separation of two groups, plus an unresolved species complex. © 2015, INRA, DIB and Springer-Verlag France.

Halcroft M.T.,University of Western Sydney | Spooner-Hart R.,University of Western Sydney | Haigh A.M.,University of Western Sydney | Heard T.A.,CSIRO | Dollin A.,Australian Native Bee Research Center
Journal of Apicultural Research | Year: 2013

In 2010, an online survey was conducted to assess the current status of the Australian stingless bee industry and its recent development. This was a follow-up survey conducted approximately one decade after the first study, by Heard and Dollin in 1998/99. It showed that the Australian industry had grown over the past ten or so years but is still underdeveloped. There was a 2.5-fold increase in the number of bee keepers and a 3.5 fold increase in the number of domesticated colonies. Seventy-eight percent of bee keepers were hobbyists, 54% of whom owned only one colony. Most colonies were kept in suburban areas. Two species, Tetragonula carbonaria and Austroplebeia australis, dominated the relatively short list of species kept. There was a high demand for Australian stingless bee colonies and their honey, but with less than 250 bee keepers currently propagating colonies, and many of them on a small scale, it is difficult to meet this demand. Pollination services were provided by less than 4% of the major stakeholders within the industry. Further research and development in the area of colony propagation may see this industry grow more quickly. Copyright © 2013 IBRA.

Dollin A.E.,Australian Native Bee Research Center | Dollin L.J.,Australian Native Bee Research Center | Rasmussen C.,University of Aarhus
Zootaxa | Year: 2015

The stingless bee genus Austroplebeia Moure occurring in Australia and New Guinea is revised, based on a morphological analysis of samples from 177 colonies. Five species are recognised: A. cincta (Mocsáry), A. essingtoni (Cockerell), A. australis (Friese), A. cassiae (Cockerell) and A. magna, sp. nov. Three different colour morphs of A. australis are described. Five new synonymies are proposed: A. cockerelli (Rayment), A. ornata (Rayment), A. percincta (Cockerell) and A. websteri (Rayment) = A. australis; A. symei (Rayment) = A. cassiae. Workers, males and queens are described for all species. Populations of A. cincta, recently found in Queensland, Australia, are compared with A. cincta from the type locality and other areas in New Guinea. A lectotype is designated for A. percincta (Cockerell). Provenance of type material is discussed. A key to the species, distributions and nest descriptions are provided. © 2015 Magnolia Press.

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