The Meliponinae are important pollinators of plant species, and one of the most managed species is Tetragonisca angustula. Initially, two subspecies were identified in T. angustula: T. angustula angustula and T. angustula fiebrigi. Subsequently, T. a. fiebrigi was considered a species, based on the coloration of its mesepisternum.
In countries containing a mega diversity of wildlife, such as Brazil, identifying and characterizing biological diversity is a continuous process for the scientific community, even in face of technological and scientific advances. This activity demands initiatives for the taxonomic identification of highly diverse groups, such as stingless bees, including molecular analysis strategies. This type of bee is distributed in all of the Brazilian states, with the highest species diversity being found in the State of Amazônia.
In order to optimize preparations of bee metaphases, we tested cobalt chloride, which has been used as a metaphase inducer in other organisms, such as hamsters and fish. Four microliters of 65 mM cobalt chloride aqueous solution was topically applied to larval and pupal stages of the stingless bee Melipona scutellaris. The cerebral ganglion was removed after treatment and prepared for cytogenetic analysis. Identically manipulated untreated individuals were used as controls. The number of metaphases was increased 3-fold in treated individuals compared to controls.
Melipona quinquefasciata is a ground-nesting South American stingless bee whose geographic distribution was believed to comprise only the central and southern states of Brazil. We obtained partial sequences (about 500-570 bp) of first internal transcribed spacer (ITS1) nuclear ribosomal DNA from Melipona specimens putatively identified as M. quinquefasciata collected from different localities in northeastern Brazil.
Scaptotrigona xanthotricha has a wide geographic distribution in the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest. One population from southeast and two from northeast Brazil were analyzed and were found to have chromosome polymorphisms. Although the chromosome number 2n = 34 is conserved in this species, karyotypic analysis revealed clear differences between the three populations. Congruent and ubiquitous multiple nucleolus organizer regions, heterochromatin and CMA3-positive blocks were found.
Hydrolytic enzymes from hypopharyngeal gland extracts of newly emerged, nurse and foraging workers of two eusocial bees, Scaptotrigona postica, a native Brazilian stingless bee, and the Africanized honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Brazil, were compared. The hypopharyngeal gland is rich in enzymes in both species. Fifteen different enzymes were found in the extracts, with only a few quantitative differences between the species. Some of the enzymes present in the extracts may have intracellular functions, while others seem to be digestive enzymes.