The Science of Nature

, 104:23 | Cite as

The choosing of sleeping position in the overnight aggregation by the solitary bees Amegilla florea urens in Iriomote Island of Japan

  • Tomoyuki Yokoi
  • Naoto Idogawa
  • Ikuo Kandori
  • Aoi Nikkeshi
  • Mamoru Watanabe
Original Paper


In addition to the process of joining the sleeping aggregation, the choice of sleeping position is an important night-time behaviour of small diurnal insects because of the increased risk for predator attacks as well as bad weather. The aggregation behaviour of the solitary bee Amegilla florea urens was investigated to elucidate the choice of sleeping position on substrates. Male and female constructed single-sex aggregations on hanging leaves during May and June, respectively. Most individuals tended to form aggregations with other individuals while few individuals slept alone. During the aggregation forming, both the number of individuals that tried to join the aggregation and the completion time of aggregation increased with the number of sleeping individuals, whereas the success rate of joining was unaffected. The sleeping positions of subsequent arrivals on the substrates were higher than those of the first arrivals in female aggregations. Therefore, the first female to arrive tended to be located near the bottom of a hanging substrate. Dissecting sleeping females showed that they contained mature oocytes, indicating that sexually mature individuals formed aggregations. In male aggregations, however, we could not find a clear relationship between the position on substrates and the arrival sequence. We suggest that the purpose for sleeping in aggregations might be a dilution effect for nocturnal predation and that the females that finished both nesting and foraging quickly could choose the optimal positions in the aggregation when they arrived on the sleeping substrates.


Dilution effect Oocyte development Sequential order Sleeping Solitary bee 



This work was supported by the program to Disseminate Tenure Tracking system, University of Tsukuba.

Compliance with ethical standards

Our study did not require ethics approval from either the Japanese government or the University of Tsukuba, but all efforts were made to ensure the welfare of the study animals. Individuals were chilled in a freezer prior to dissection.


  1. Alcock J (1998) Sleeping aggregations of the bee Idiomelissodes duplocincta (Cockerell) (Hymenoptera: Anthophorini) and their possible function. J Kans Entomol Soc 71:77–84Google Scholar
  2. Alves-dos-Santos I, Gaglianone MC, Naxara SRC, Engel MS (2009) Male sleeping aggregation of solitary oil-collecting bees in Brazil (Centridini, Tapinotaspidini, and Tetrapediini; Hymenoptera: Apidae). Genet Mol Res 8:515–524CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson JR (1998) Sleep, sleeping sites, and sleep-related activities: awakening to their significance. Am J Primatol 46:63–75CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Caccamise DF, Morrison DW (1986) Avian communal roosting: implications of diurnal activity centers. Amer Nat 128:191–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Copp NH (1983) Temperature-dependent behaviours and cluster formation by aggregating ladybird beetles. Anim Behav 31:424–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Corbet PS (1999) Dragonflies: behavior and ecology of Odonata. Cornell University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Dafni A, Ivri Y, Brantjes NBM (1981) Pollination of Serapias vomeracea Briq. (Orchidaceae) by imitation of holes for sleeping solitary male bees (Hymenoptera). Acta Bot Neerl 30:69–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Davis NB, Krebs JR, West SA (2012) An introduction to behavioural ecology, 4th edn. Wiley-Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  9. Evans HE, Gillaspy JE (1964) Observations on the ethology of digger wasps of the genus Steniolia (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae: Bembicini). Am Midl Nat 72:257–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Evans HE, Linsley EG (1960) Notes on a sleeping aggregation of solitary bees and wasps. Bull South Calif Acad Sci 59:30–37Google Scholar
  11. Finkbeiner SD, Briscoe AD, Reed RD (2012) The benefit of being a social butterfly: communal roosting deters predation. Proc R Soc Lond B 279:2769–2776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Freeman BE, Johnston B (1978) Gregarious roosting in the sphecid wasp Sceliphron assimile. Ann Entomol Soc Am 71:435–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Goulson D (2003) Bumblebees: behaviour and ecology. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  14. Hirashima Y (1989) A check list of Japanese insects II. Entomological laboratory of Kyushu University and Japan, Wildlife Research Center.Google Scholar
  15. Kurihara M, Maeta Y, Chiba K, Sakagami SF (1981) The relation between ovarian conditions and life cycle in two small carpenter bees, Ceratina flavipes and C. japonica (Hymenoptera, Anthophoridae). J Fac Agr Iwate Univ 15:131–153Google Scholar
  16. Lewis SE (1994) Night roosting ecology of pallid bats (Antrozous pallidus) in Oregon. Am Midl Nat 132:219–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Linsley EG (1962) Sleeping aggregations of aculeate Hymenoptera—II. Ann Entomol Soc Am 55:148–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Linsley EG, Cazier MA (1972) Diurnal and seasonal behavior patterns among adults of Protoxaea gloriosa (Hymenoptera, Oxaeidae). Am Mus Novit 2509:1–25Google Scholar
  19. Maeta Y, Hannan Md A, Miyanaga R, Gôukon K (2010) Relationship between entomophilous plants and their flower visitors in an island of Japan. Bull Hoshizaki Green Found 13:45–78 (In Japanese with English summary)Google Scholar
  20. Mallet J (1986) Gregarious roosting and home range in Heliconius butterflies. Natl Geogr Res 2:198–215Google Scholar
  21. Miyanaga R, Maeta Y (1998) Notes on male sleeping aggregation of Lasioglossum (Ctenonomia) kumejimense (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). Entomol Sci 1:357–358Google Scholar
  22. Miyanaga R, Maeta Y, Hannan Md A (2011) Notes on the nesting biology of Amegilla florea urens (Cockerell) in Iriomote Island, southernmost archipelago of Japan (Hymenoptera, Apidae). New Entomol 60:35–44Google Scholar
  23. Pearson DL, Anderson JJ (1985) Perching heights and nocturnal communal roosts of some tiger beetles (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae) in southeastern Peru. Biotropica 17:126–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Price PW, Denno RF, Eubanks MD, Finke DL, Kaplan I (2011) Insect ecology. Cambridge University Press, UKCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rau P, Rau N (1916) The sleep of insects; an ecological study. Ann Entomol Soc Am 9:227–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rayment R (1935) A cluster of bees. Endeavour Press, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  27. Sasaki Y, Sasaki T (2008) Notes on the sleeping aggregation of a sweat bee, Halictus (Seladonia) aerarius SMITH (Hymenoptera, Halictidae). Chugoku Kontyu 22:47–48Google Scholar
  28. Seeley TD (1985) Honeybee ecology. Princeton University Press, PrincetonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Silva MDE, Andrade-Silva ACR, Silva M (2011) Long-term male aggregations of Euglossa melanotricha Moure (Hymenoptera: Apidae) on fern fronds Serpocaulon triseriale (Pteridophyta: Polypodiaceae). Neotrop Entomol 40:548–552CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Sugiura N (1998) Sleeping postures of solitary and cleptoparasitic bees. Insectarium 35:68–73 (In Japanese)Google Scholar
  31. Waller DA, Gilbert LE (1982) Roost recruitment and resource utilization: observations on a Heliconius charitonia L. roost in Mexico (Nymphalidae). J Lepid Soc 36:178–184Google Scholar
  32. Wcislo WT (2003) A male sleeping roost of a sweat bee, Augochlorella neglectula (Ckll.) (Hymenoptera: Halictidae), in Panama. J Kans Entomol Soc 76:55–59Google Scholar
  33. Wilkinson GS, Reillo PR (1994) Female choice response to artificial selection on an exaggerated male trait in a stalk-eyed fly. Proc R Soc Lond B 255:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Yokoi T, Watanabe M (2015) Female-biased sleeping aggregations of Amegilla florea urens (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Entomol Sci 18:274–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Yokoi T, Idogawa N, Watanabe M (2016) The non-use of sleeping substrate by the sympatric bees Amegilla florea urens and A. senahai senahai (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Entomol News 126:138–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Conservation Ecology, Faculty of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukuba cityJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Entomology, Faculty of AgricultureKindai UniversityNara city, NaraJapan

Personalised recommendations