In a rare coincidence, researchers working in both Turkey and Iran discovered on the same day how a rare species of bee builds its underground nests. The females from the solitary species Osima (Ozbekosima) avoseta line the nest's brood chambers with petals of pink, yellow, blue, and purple flowers. The chambers provide nutrients for the larvae to grow and mature and protect the next generation as they wait out the winter. The new research was published this February in American Museum Novitates.
"It was absolute synchronicity that we all discovered this uncommon behavior on the same day," says Jerome Rozen, curator in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History. Rozen and colleagues were working near Antalya, Turkey while another group of researchers were in the field in Fars Province, Iran. "I'm very proud of the fact that so many authors contributed to this paper."
Bees are the most important animal pollinators living today, and many flowering plants depend on bees to reproduce. But nearly 75% of bee species—and there are about 20,000 species described—are solitary. This means that for the majority of bees, a female constructs a nest for herself and provisions each chamber in the nest with food for the larval stage of her brood. When each chamber is ready, the female deposits an egg and closes the nest if there is only one chamber to a nest. The nests—found in the open in the ground—need to be protected from any number of potential threats to their physical structure like compaction of the soil, desiccation, or excessive heating. The survival of solitary bee species also depends on protection from molds, viruses, bacteria, parasites, and predators.
In O. avosetta, the female builds a nest in one or two vertical chambers close to the surface, or between 1.5 and 5 cm below ground. Entering from the top, the adult female lines each chamber with overlapping petals, starting at the bottom. The female then ferries claylike mud to the nest, plasters a thin layer (about 0.5 mm thick) on the petals, and finishes the lining with another layer of petals. The nest is essentially a petal sandwich, built in the dark.
When the physical structure is ready, female O. avosetta gather provisions of a sticky mix of nectar and pollen and place it on the chamber's floor. An egg is deposited on its surface, and the chamber is closed by carefully folding the petals at the top. The nest is capped with a plug of mud, sealing the young bee in a humid chamber that becomes rigid and protects the larvae as it eats its rations, spins a cocoon, and falls into a 10-month sleep until spring. The nests of the species can be parasitized by a wasp that lays an egg in the brood chamber and kills the O. avosetta egg with enlarged jaws and then devours the provisions.
"In this species, a female shingles the wall of her brood chambers with large pieces of petals or with whole petals, often of many hues," says Rozen. "Unfortunately, her larvae never enjoy the brilliant colors of the nest's walls because they have no eyes—and, anyhow, they would need a flashlight!"
In addition to Rozen, authors include Hikmet Özbek of Atatürk University's Department of Plant Protection in Erzurum, Turkey; John S. Ascher of the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the Museum; Claudio Sedivy and Andreas Müller of ETH Zurich's Applied Entomology in Zürich, Switzerland; Christophe Praz of Cornell University's Department of Entomology in Ithaca, New York; and Alireza Monfared of Yasouj University's Department of Plant Protection in Yasouj, Iran. Funding for this research came from Robert G. Goelet, the American Museum of Natural History, and other individuals and institutions.
Kristin Elise Phillips | EurekAlert!
Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction