RUB » Dekanat für Biologie und Biotechnologie » Evolutionsökologie und Biodiversität der Tiere - Mitarbeiterhomepage PD Dr. Th. Eltz

Molecular ecology of orchid bees

DFG Project EL 249/3

A range of microsatellite markers (developed by Marion Zobel, Anne Zillikens and Robert Paxton) are used to address of questions related to orchid bees fragrance biology:

1. Are female euglossines singly or multiply mated? Euglossine brood as well as sperm taken from the female spermatheca are genotyped to assess female mating habits. Knowledge on the euglossine mating system is essential to assess the potential for sexual selection to shape male fragrance collection.

2. How do the reported high frequencies of diploid males in euglossine populations (Roubik et al. 1996, Zayed et al. 2004) relate to male fragrance collection? Males of two Panamanian species are currently genotyped to reliably assess the frequency of diploid (heterozygous) males.


Roubik D.W., Weigt L.A. & Bonilla, M.A. 1996. Population genetics, diploid males, and limits to social evolution of euglossine bees. Evolution, 50, 931-935.

Zayed, A., Roubik, D. W. & Packer, L. 2004. Use of diploid male frequency data as an indicator of pollinator decline. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 271, 9-12.
male Euglossa imperialis pocketing fragrances
baiting orchid bees