Trigona is the largest genus of stingless bees, formerly including many more subgenera than the present assemblage; many of these former subgenera have been elevated to generic status. Trigona are oval-shaped creatures with golden-yellow and brown bands. Almost all Trigona bees have varying dark-to-light striations. Trigona are three to five millimeters in size, and have a slimmer body in total variance.
Trigona species occur throughout the Neotropical region, including South and Central America, the Mexican lowlands, and the Caribbean islands. They can occur in forests, savannas, and man made environments. Trigona bees are active all year round, although they are less active in cool environments.
Stingless bees such as Trigona have traditionally been a source of honey for the Australian Indigenous people. One method the indigenous people employed to find the bee hives was to capture a bee and secure small tufts of fibre to the animal. These tufts of fibre would allow for the bee to be visible when flying, and thus it could be followed back to its nest where the honey could then be collected.
Researchers at the School of Ecosystem Management at the University of New England in Australia are currently researching the pollinator networks of various Australian ecosystems. Such ecosystems include those where various Trigona species are present, and the interactions between Trigona and other bees such as Apis cerana and Apis mellifera are being examined.
Trigona bees nests are constructed from wax they produce and plant resins they collect. They usually nest in hollow trunks, tress branches, and underground.
Vulture bees consist of three Trigona species that are the only bees known to be carnivorous. These bees collect and feed on dead animal flesh.
Some species of Trigona bees use saliva to lay scent trails guiding nest mates to a food source. Some species of Trigona use eavesdropping which help them detect food sources being exploited by competitors.
Role In Seed Dispersal
Eucalyptus seeds adhere to resin in the workers corbiculae and can be transported to the nest. Workers transported seeds distance of more than three hundred meters; seeds at the nest were viable and capable of germination.
- Trigona barrocoloradensis
- Trigona branneri—Mato Grosso (BR)
- Trigona carbonaria—Queensland (AU)
- Trigona chanchamayoensis—Mato Grosso (BR)
- Trigona cilipes—América
- Trigona collina—Thailand
- Trigona corbina—América (Mesoámerica-Costa Rica)
- Trigona corvina - Central and South America
- Trigona iridipennis—India, Sri Lanka
- Trigona ferricauda—América
- Trigona fulviventris—México.
- Trigona fuscipennis—México to Brasil.
- Trigona hockingsi—(AU)
- Trigona hyalinata—Mato Grosso (BR)
- Trigona minangkabau
- Trigona nigerrima—América (México, Costa Rica).
- Trigona nigra—México.
- Trigona pallens—América
- Trigona recursa—Mato Grosso (BR)
- Trigona silvestriana—América (Costa Rica)
- Trigona spinipes-arapuá (BR)
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