Methodological concerns and challenges in ecological studies with orchid bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Euglossina)
AbstractThe Neotropical orchid bees have been the focus of several ecological studies in the last four decades, mainly due to the ease of attracting males of their species to synthetic baits that simulate floral fragrances. Moreover, orchid bees are mostly forest-dependent insects, occurring in biomes that have been rapidly wiped out and their conservation may be a matter of concern in the near future. Nevertheless, the prevalent usage of chemical attractants has hidden some problems barely discussed in the literature. Forty years after intensive studies on these bees, it is time to evaluate whether this methodology has been efficient enough to provide a clear idea of what does happen in nature. The main goal of this paper is to discuss the present status of our knowledge on orchid bees and critically evaluate the potential pitfalls of the currently used methodology, how to deal with them and the challenges for the next decades.
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