The Contribution of Palynological Surveys to Stingless Bee Conservation: A Case Study with Melipona subnitida

  • Camila Maia-Silva
  • Amanda Aparecida Castro Limão
  • Michael Hrncir
  • Jaciara da Silva Pereira
  • Vera Lucia Imperatriz-Fonseca


Melipona subnitida (Apidae, Meliponini) is one of the few social bee species naturally occurring in the Brazilian tropical dry forest, where the vast majority of food plants are available during a short and unpredictable rainy season. It is a key species concerning the pollination of native plants as well as agricultural crops and has great potential for commercial honey production. However, severe habitat loss over the past century has caused a considerable decline of native bee populations, which demands effective conservation/restoration strategies to protect these important pollinators. In the present chapter, we discuss how melittopalynological studies may help to establish such conservation plans. In the first part, we outline the floral origin of pollen and nectar harvested by colonies of the stingless bee M. subnitida in the dry forest. The second part discusses the importance of knowledge on floral preferences and flowering schedules as solid bases for management plans that may contribute toward reconstruction of suitable habitats for this bee species.



We would like to thank David Roubik, Patricia Vit, and two anonymous reviewers for important suggestions and comments on the manuscript. We would like to thank the students of the Behavioural Ecology Laboratory (bee-LAB) for their help with the data collection. This study complies with current Brazilian laws and was financially supported by grants of the Brazilian Science Foundations CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) to CMS and CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) to VLIF (482218/2010-0, 406102/2013-9) and to MH (304722/2010-3, 309914/2013-2, 404156/2013-4).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Camila Maia-Silva
    • 1
  • Amanda Aparecida Castro Limão
    • 1
  • Michael Hrncir
    • 1
  • Jaciara da Silva Pereira
    • 1
  • Vera Lucia Imperatriz-Fonseca
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciências AnimaisUniversidade Federal Rural do Semi-ÁridoMossoróBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto Tecnológico ValeBelémBrazil

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