Division of Labor among Primitively Social Bees

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Science  02 Aug 1963:
Vol. 141, Issue 3579, pp. 434-435
DOI: 10.1126/science.141.3579.434


Australian bees of the genera Allodapula and Exoneura which commonly live in colonies of two to several individuals exhibit a division of labor among the adult females. Most foraging individuals are unfertilized and have slender ovaries, yet gather pollen and carry it to the nest; in contrast, fertilized egg-laying bees are not commonly foragers. Such castes are functionally similar to workers and queens found in some members of two other families of bees and represent a noteworthy example of physiological and behavioral parallelism in which the activities of different individuals are coordinated to form a functional unit.

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