Dispersal of Eucalyptus torelliana seeds by the resin-collecting stingless bee, Trigona carbonaria
Wallace, H M
Trueman, S J
Ants are the only group of invertebrates currently identified as significant dispersers of seeds, but we report here the dispersal of Eucalyptus torelliana seeds by bees. Fruits of E. torelliana produce resin which is collected by workers of the stingless bee Trigona carbonaria. Seeds adhere to resin in the workers’ corbiculate and are transported to the nest. Workers transported seeds distances of more than 300 m from the parent tree and seeds at the nest were viable and capable of germination. Seeds were removed from the nests by workers and discarded away from the nest, and E. torelliana trees became established in the vicinity of colonies of T. carbonaria. Mellitochory may be a novel method of seed dispersal where bees are dispersers, and associated with fruits that produce resin as an attractant for bees.