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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Insect Genetics and Biochemistry Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #348447

Research Project: Conservation of Genetic Diversity and Improved Storage Protocols for Agricultural Pests and Beneficial Insects

Location: Insect Genetics and Biochemistry Research

Title: Aging and body size in solitary bees

item GRULA, COURTNEY - North Dakota State University
item BOWSHER, JULIA - North Dakota State University
item Yocum, George
item HEIDINGER, BRITT - North Dakota State University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2017
Publication Date: 1/3/2018
Citation: Grula, C., Bowsher, J.H., Yocum, G.D., Heidinger, B. 2018. Aging and body size in solitary bees [abstract]. The Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology (SCIB) Annual Meeting 2018. January 3-7, 2018. San Francisco, CA. P3-191.

Interpretive Summary: .

Technical Abstract: Solitary bees are important pollinators of crops and non-domestic plants. Osmia lignaria is a native, commercially-reared solitary bee used to maximize pollination in orchard crops. In solitary bees, adult body size is extremely variable depending on the nutritional resources available to the developing juvenile. Body size impacts many different aspects of the bee’s physiology and behavior including fecundity, longevity, foraging distance, and pollination efficiency. One aspect of body size that has not been studied in solitary bees is its impact on cellular rate of aging. Studies have shown larger individuals age faster than smaller individuals within a species. The aim of this study is to determine the degree to which adult size variation influences aging in O. lignaria. Adult bees from a naturally occurring population were stored in an incubator and their longevity, and mass were recorded. Telomere length was measured using qPCR to determine whether cellular aging occurred over time and whether individuals differed in their rates of cellular aging. There was a large variation of body sizes among individuals, as well as between the different sexes, in the population. The maximum longevity of bees in this study was 34 days, which is longer than the predicted average lifespan in a field setting. These data can potentially be used to predict the rate of aging in bees of differing sizes based on nutritional stress in an agricultural or natural environment.