Larger females are able to better control the size of their offspring. As stated in the Life Cycle section, more bee bread leads to larger offspring. Larger females are able to gather more pollen and nectar in a shorter amount of time when compared to smaller females. This means that during rich conditions, the larger females can have larger offspring with greater fitness, or if conditions are poor, the females can simply choose to have smaller offspring. There is a lower limit to how small offspring can be, and thus, smaller females can’t make this reduction or increase in size in response to the environment. Smaller females are still able to exist since larger females can’t take advantage of having larger offspring when the density of nesting grounds is low.[12] To put it another way, larger male offspring are less effective in low density nesting grounds since they don’t have as many opportunities to use their size to fight off other males; thus, in low density nesting grounds, small and large males have similar fitness which means that the extra bee bread which the larger male received served no purpose. Smaller males actually do better in low density areas because they don’t have to fight with larger males as much, and by extension, expend less energy. This lack of a reason to produce larger offspring reduces the fitness of the larger females since they have to dig larger tunnels to fit in, but still produce the same size offspring as smaller females.[12]
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The two categories of behavior for C. pallida males are patrolling and hovering. These strategies are also used to find mates. In one category (the patrollers), male bees will patrol 3–6 centimeters above the ground in search of sites where buried virgin females will emerge. When a male bee finds such a site, he will dig 1–2 centimeters through the soil by gnawing at the surface with his jaws and using his forelegs to remove dirt from the excavation. If a female is found, he will attempt to mate with her either on the surface or at a nearby flower or tree. Other patrollers will sometimes attempt to steal a digging spot that another bee has found. If a bee has already found a female, another patroller bee may separate the male from the female so that it can copulate with the virgin. More often than not, the female (once found) will mate with either the male that found her or with an intruder.[6]
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Four varieties of bacteria have been found in the bee bread of the larva: Bacillus circulans, B. coagulans, B. firmus, and B. megaterium. Only the Bacillus genus has been found in the samples taken. Together, these four species were able to hydrolyze starch, ferment glucose, convert nitrates to nitrites, and produce dihydroxyacetone from glycerol. This group of bacteria also lowers the pH of the bee bread. These functions serve not only to protect the larva from other bacteria, but they also digest complex molecules which allow the larva to easily absorb nutrients without expending a lot of energy. The bacteria, in turn, receive a supply of food which results in a mutualistic relationship.[13]
They are large (up to 3 cm), fast-flying bees, distinguished from the closely related genus Epicharis by the absence of long, whip-like setae that project backwards from just behind the eyes. They are commonly encountered bees in American deserts, and are active at very high ambient temperatures when many other species are in hiding. They can often be seen in large numbers on desert-willow (Chilopsis) and palo verde (Parkinsonia) blossoms. Bees of this genus are of some economical significance in pollinating crops such as Brazil Nut (Bertholletia excelsa) and Cashew (Anacardium occidentale, pollinated by C. tarsata among others).
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