Male Eufriesia purpurata, a DDT-collecting euglossine bee in Brazil

Donald R. Roberts*, Wilson D. Alecrim, Jack M. Heller, Susan R. Ehrhardt, Jose B. Lima

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

While studying the ecology of the malaria vector Anopheles (Nyssorhynchus) darlingi Root along the Ituxi River, Amazonas, Brazil, we observed aggregates of bees on the walls of houses that were routinely sprayed with DDT. Several bees collected from DDT-treated house walls in August 1978 were identified as male specimens of Eufriesia purpurata (Moscary) of the tribe Euglossini (Hymenoptera: Apoidae). (The bees were identified as Euplusia purpurata by Anthony Raw, Laboratorio de Ecologia, Universidade de Brasilia. The change of generic name from Euplusia to Eufriesia is based on ref. 1.) These bees were well known to the local residents as the insects that eat DDT and we present here the first documentation that they (1) are attracted to DDT, (2) actively collect large quantities of DDT from treated house walls and (3) suffer no apparent insecticidal effects. We also found that the frequency of house visiting is most intense during July to September. Most bees arrive at houses before 12.00 h, remain 2-3 h and return on subsequent days to collect more DDT. Noise produced by bees as they collected DDT was a notable disturbance to 76% of 21 families interviewed along the Ituxi River.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-63
Number of pages2
JournalNature
Volume297
Issue number5861
DOIs
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

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