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    Author(s): James H. Cane
    Date: 2014
    Source: Apidologie. 45(6): 678-684.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (4.2 MB)


    Flowers with poricidally dehiscent anthers are typically nectarless but are avidly visited and often solely pollinated by bees that sonicate the flowers to harvest pollen. Sonication results from shivering the thoracic flight muscles. Honey bees (Apis) and the 4,000+ species of Megachilidae are enigmatic in their seeming inability to sonicate flowers. The oligolectic megachilid bee Osmia brevis was found audibly sonicating two of its beardtongue pollen hosts, Penstemon radicosus and P. cyananthus. The bees’ high-pitched sonication sequences are readily distinguishable from flight sounds in audiospectrograms, as well as sounds that result from anther rasping. Instead, floral sonication by O. brevis resembles the familiar sounds of bumblebees buzzing, in this case while visiting P. strictus flowers.

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    Cane, James H. 2014. The oligolectic bee Osmia brevis sonicates Penstemon flowers for pollen: A newly documented behavior for the Megachilidae. Apidologie. 45(6): 678-684.


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    Apiformes, Megachilidae, buzz pollination, Penstemon, floral sonication, pollen foraging, porose anthers

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