Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/5/2020
Publication Date: 6/27/2020
Citation: Cane, J.H. 2020. A brief review of monolecty in bees and benefits of a broadened definition. Apidologie. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13592-020-00785-y.
Interpretive Summary: A common vocabulary is useful for describing floral foraging choices made by wild bees. Many bee species specialize on a small related subset of flowering species for all of their pollen needs. At an extreme, monolectic bees use a single flowering species. A review reveals that the this handful of cases are idiosyncratic in all ways, with no biological basis. A more useful revised definition would reserve monolecty for all of the cases of a bee species restricting its pollen foraging to a single genus of flowering plant.
Technical Abstract: Monolecty in bees was defined a century ago for those species that consistently collect pollen from the same single species of floral host. Even at the time, the term was considered “a curiosity” with little biological meaning. Here I review its sundry problems and suggest that the term's utility would improve if we apply the term monolecty to those bees species that use a single genus (not species) of flowering host for all of their pollen needs.