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Macronutrient ratios in pollen shape bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) foraging strategies and floral preferences [PNAS]

Keywords : foraging behavior, nutritional ecology, pollen, pollinator, preferences

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

To fuel their activities and rear their offspring, foraging bees must obtain a sufficient quality and quantity of nutritional resources from a diverse plant community. Pollen is the primary source of proteins and lipids for bees, and the concentrations of these nutrients in pollen can vary widely among host-plant species. Therefore we hypothesized that foraging decisions of bumble bees are driven by both the protein and lipid content of pollen. By successively reducing environmental and floral cues, we analyzed pollen-foraging preferences of Bombus impatiens in (i) host-plant species, (ii) pollen isolated from these host-plant species, and (iii) nutritionally modified single-source pollen diets encompassing a range of protein and lipid concentrations. (...)

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