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1 December 2015 Phenotypic Variation in Fitness Traits of a Managed Solitary Bee, Osmia ribifloris (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)
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We investigated fitness in natural populations of a managed solitary bee Osmia ribifloris Cockerell (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) from sites separated from 400 to 2,700 km. Parental wild bees originated in central Texas (TX), central-northern Utah (UT), and central California (CA). They were then intercrossed and raised inside a mesh enclosure in southern Mississippi (MS). Females from all possible mated pairs of O. ribifloris produced F1 broods with 30–40% female cocoons and outcrossed progeny were 30% heavier. Mitochondrial (COI) genomes of the four populations revealed three distinct clades, a TX-CA clade, a UT clade, and an MS clade, the latter (MS) representing captive progeny of CA and UT bees. Although classified as separate subspecies, TX and CA populations from 30° N to 38° N latitude shared 98% similarity in COI genomes and the greatest brood biomass per nest straw (600- to 700-mg brood). Thus, TX and CA bees show greater adaptation for southern U.S. sites. In contrast, UT-sourced bees were more distantly related to TX and CA bees and also produced ∼50% fewer brood. These results, taken together, confirm that adult O. ribifloris from all trap-nest sites are genetically compatible, but some phenotypic variation exists that could affect this species performance as a commercial blueberry pollinator. Males, their sperm, or perhaps a substance in their sperm helped stabilize our captive bee population by promoting legitimate nesting over nest usurpation. Otherwise, without insemination, 50% fewer females nested (they nested 14 d late) and 20% usurped nests, killing 33–67% of brood in affected nests.

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America 2015. This work is witten by US Government employees and is in the public domain in the US.
B. J. Sampson, T. A. Rinehart, G. T. Kirker, S. J. Stringer, and C. T. Werle "Phenotypic Variation in Fitness Traits of a Managed Solitary Bee, Osmia ribifloris (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)," Journal of Economic Entomology 108(6), 2589-2598, (1 December 2015).
Received: 9 March 2015; Accepted: 16 July 2015; Published: 1 December 2015

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