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Species richness and nest dispersion of some tropical meliponine bees (Apidae: Meliponinae) in six habitat types in the Kakamega forest, western Kenya

  • Kiatoko Nkoba (a1) (a2), Suresh Kumar Raina (a1), Elluid Muli (a3), Klaus Mithöfer (a1) and Jones Mueke (a2)...

Abstract

A study to determine the species richness and spatial distribution of five meliponine bee species in three different habitats in the Kakamega forest was undertaken for the first time. Two forest (indigenous and mixed indigenous) and two grassland (with Eucalyptus spp. trees and indigenous trees) types, along with homesteads (in the vicinity of mixed indigenous forest and indigenous forest, respectively), were surveyed. Line transect methods were used in the nest survey in each habitat. The highest number of species was recorded in the indigenous forest, while no nest was discovered in the grassland with Eucalyptus spp. trees. The mean number of nests per transect was higher in homesteads followed by the indigenous forest. The nesting pattern of almost all species nesting in the indigenous forest, mixed indigenous forest (Meliponula bocandei [Spinola]) and grassland with indigenous tree species (Meliponula ferruginea [Lepeletier] reddish brown) was dispersed. The nesting pattern of M. ferruginea (reddish brown) and Hypotrigona gribodoi (Magretti) changed from a dispersed and random pattern, respectively, to a clumped nesting pattern when nesting in homesteads. The degree of nest clustering was low for M. ferruginea (reddish brown) and high for H. gribodoi. Differences in average nearest-neighbour distance were observed within species nesting in a dispersed or clumped pattern. This study reveals that habitat type in the Kakamega forest influences the species richness and nesting pattern of the five stingless bee species.

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Species richness and nest dispersion of some tropical meliponine bees (Apidae: Meliponinae) in six habitat types in the Kakamega forest, western Kenya

  • Kiatoko Nkoba (a1) (a2), Suresh Kumar Raina (a1), Elluid Muli (a3), Klaus Mithöfer (a1) and Jones Mueke (a2)...

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