Flower scent in oil-flowers as attractants for oil-bees

DFG: DO 1250/3-1

From 08/2008 to 08/2011

Principal Investigator: Stefan Dötterl
Staff: Irmgard Schäffler

Bees are the most important animal pollinators worldwide, and guarantee sexual reproduction of many plant species. Though it is known that floral scent is important for host-plant finding, little is known, even for the model organism honeybee, about the specific olfactorial signals used by bees for finding a suitable host and for discriminating rewarding from non-rewarding plants. Generalistic bees, such as the honeybee, may respond to many flower scent compounds and may use many compounds for finding rewarding plants. It is not necessary for them to find specific species; they just have to find any rewarding one. However, the situation is quite different for oligolectic bees, which are dependent on specific, closely related plants as pollen source. These bees have to find their specific host plants. Recently it was shown that the oil-bee Macropis is strongly responding to the floral scent emitted by their oil and pollen host Lysimachia. The compounds responsible for attracting Macropis are still unknown, and the new project aims to investigate by use of chemical and chemical-electrophysiological analyses as well as biotests the chemical basis for host-plant finding in the melittid oil-bees, Macropis and Rediviva.

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