Acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC; Malpighiaceae) is an important fruit crop in Brazil. Among its pollinators, Centris (Heterocentris) analis (F.) stands out due to its abundance at flowers and prompt acceptance of trap-nests. For the first time, we propose the commercial use of Centris bees as orchard pollinators. To develop protocols for rearing and management of these bees, we analyzed trap-nest acceptance, brood-cell construction, and larval diet in Acerola orchards. Although Centris species, in general, use numerous pollen host plants, females of C. analis showed remarkable flower fidelity to Acerola for pollen supply when nesting in the orchard. Such fidelity was previously expected only for floral oil collection. The ease of acceptance of trap-nests by females of C. analis, their prolonged yearly activity period, multivoltine life history, and high pollinator efficiency characterize C. analis as an excellent potentially manageable pollinator in Acerola orchards.
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Vol. 102 • No. 1