The Neotropical stingless bee Trigona fulviventris has one of the largest distributions of its genus. It ranges from southern Brazil to Colima Mexico and is common at low to mid elevations. These bees can tolerate a variation of humidity, commonly found in tropical dry as well as tropical wet forests (Hubbell and Johnson 1977). As Trigona is a diverse genus, T. fulviventris can be characterized based on its color and size. It has a black body with a slender orange abdomen, and its size is 5-6.5 mm. Additionally, it can be distinguished by two tubercles (growths) located on the labrum as well as four mandibular teeth (Hernandez et al. 2007). Although this trait has been found in a few other species of Trigona. Locally, T. fulviventris are found nested in the base of large trees, usually 85 cm diameter at breat hight (dbh) or greater. The bees create a small opening and hollow out the trunk, creating a refuge from predators. They are inaccessible to other common bee predators like parrots, woodpeckers, armadillos, and anteaters. Because of this, the only true threats to Trigona are other swarms in the genus. As mentioned, Trigona are stingless, and this may be an evolutionary trait adapted from their nesting abilities. While they do not sting, they do exhibit interesting fighting displays. These displays include rising up on their legs, holding their wings out, and opening mandibles. These encounters however are very rare. If a lone bee is attacked, it may give off an alarm pheromone out of its mandibular gland, though this does not elicit a very effective response. T. fulviventris are eusocial, meaning they have cooperative brood care and division of labor. They are also solitary foragers, meaning they gather food on an individual basis. Once a sufficient amount of food has been found, they alert other members of the colony. This is done by the release of a short odor trail leading to the feeding site (Nieh et al. 2003). This foraging strategy allows this species to discover resources quicker than any other, effectively lowering competition for the time being. Like other bees, Trigona feed on nectar in flowers. They bite through the corolla of flowers to steal nectar. However, they also act as pollinators, feeding ‘normally’ through the top of the flower and gathering pollen on the hairs of their stomach and legs. T. fulviventris forage from dawn to dusk, not only for pollen, but nesting material as well (i.e. mud, fungi, plant exudates, etc.). Colony multiplication occurs when worker bees leave the mother nest to begin building a new nest. A few weeks later, gynes (reproductive female castes) inhabit the new nests, engaging in a mating flight with the workers around the nest. A new queen is then determined, beginning a new colony (Hubbell and Johnson 1977).
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