Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Research Article Open Access

Foraging patterns of bees in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus Thunb.) flowers in Panama

Juan Carlos Di Trani, Virginia Meléndez Ramírez, Anovel Barba, Yostin Añino

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The foraging patterns of bees in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus Thunb.) flowers were investigated in Los Santos, Panama, over a period of 84 observation days. The study aimed to identify the bee species visiting the flowers, their daily visitation rates, and the resources they foraged. The majority of visits were made by native bees, particularly stingless bees, suggesting their crucial role in pollinating watermelon crops in the area. The most frequently observed bee species visiting the flowers were N. perilampoides (58.7%), A. mellifera (23%), and P. peckolti (4%). Nectar was the primary resource foraged by most bees, with comparable visitation rates for both male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers. Honeybees allocated nearly half of their visits (47.7%) for pollen collection, and the majority of their daily visits occurred between 7:00 and 8:00 hours. In contrast, stingless bee visits peaked between 8:00 and 9:00 hours. Nectar visits were shorter in duration than pollen visits, with honeybees exhibiting the shortest durations when visiting watermelon flowers. Significant variations were observed in the daily foraging patterns among bee species during the 84-h observation period (Friedman P < 0.05). Additionally, bee characteristics such as size, color, and sociability, along with the time of day, significantly influenced flower visits for resources (GLMM P < 0.05). These findings contribute to the understanding of Central American bee species' behavior, aid in their conservation and management and have implications for enhancing fruit production in local watermelon crops.


bee foraging, duration, nectar, pollen, visits, watermelon


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