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    Stingless bees such as Partamona helleri Friese play important roles in pollination of native plants and agricultural crops in the Neotropics. Global concerns about declining bee populations due to agrochemical pollutants have, however, been biased towards the honey bee, Apis mellifera Linnaeus. Here, we analysed the unintended effects of commercial formulations of a neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, and a fungicide mixture of thiophanate-methyl and chlorothalonil on color preference, respiration rates and group locomotory activities of both P. helleri and A. mellifera. Our results revealed that P. helleri foragers that were not exposed to pesticides changed their color preference during the course of a year. By contrast, we found that pesticide exposure altered the color preference of stingless bees in a concentration-dependent manner. In addition, imidacloprid decreased the overall locomotion of both bee species, whereas the fungicide mixture increased locomotion of only stingless bees. The fungicide mixture also reduced respiration rates of forager bees of both species. Forager bees of both species altered their color preference, but not their locomotory and respiration rates, when exposed to commercial formulations of each fungicidal mixture component (i.e., chlorothalonil and thiophanate-methyl). Our findings emphasize the importance of P. helleri as a model for Neotropical wild pollinator species in pesticide risk assessments, and also the critical importance of including groups of agrochemicals that are often considered to have minimal impact on pollinators, such as fungicides. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Carlos H S Almeida, Khalid Haddi, Pedro F S Toledo, Sarah M Rezende, Weyder C Santana, Raul Narciso C Guedes, Philip L Newland, Eugenio E Oliveira. Sublethal agrochemical exposures can alter honey bees' and Neotropical stingless bees' color preferences, respiration rates, and locomotory responses. The Science of the total environment. 2021 Jul 20;779:146432

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    PMID: 33744575

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