Considerable interspecific diversity exists among bees in the rendezvous sites where males search for females and in the behaviours employed by males in their efforts to secure matings. I present an evolutionary framework in which to interpret this variation, and highlight the importance for the framework of (i) the distribution of receptive ( typically immediate post-emergence) females, which ordinarily translates into the distribution of nests, and (ii) the density of competing males. Other than the highly polyandrous honey bees ( Apis), most female bees are thought to be monandrous, though genetic data with which to support this view are generally lacking. Given the opportunity, male bees are typically polygamous. I highlight intraspecific diversity in rendezvous site, male behaviour and mating system, which is in part predicted from the conceptual framework. Finally, I suggest that inbreeding may be far more widespread among bees than has hitherto been considered the case.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science