Japanese honeybees (Apis cerana japonica Radoszkowski, 1877) may be resilient to land use change

Donkersley, Philip and Covell, Lucy and Ota, Takahiro (2021) Japanese honeybees (Apis cerana japonica Radoszkowski, 1877) may be resilient to land use change. Insects, 12 (8): insects120. ISSN 2075-4450

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Pollinators are being threatened globally by urbanisation and agricultural intensification, driv-en by a growing human population. Understanding these impacts on landscapes and pollinators is critical to ensuring a robust pollination system. Remote sensing data on land use attributes have previously linked honeybee nutrition to land use in the Western Honeybee (Apis mellifera L.). Here, we instead focus on the less commonly studied Apis cerana japonica – the Japanese Honeybee. Our study presents preliminary data comparing forage (honey and pollen) with land use across a rural-urban gradient from 22 sites in Kyushu, southern Japan. Honey samples were collected from hives between June 2018 and August 2019. Pollen were collected and biotyped from hives in urban and rural locations (n = 4). Previous studies of honey show substantial vari-ation in monosaccharide content. Our analysis of A. cerana japonica honey found very little varia-tion in glucose and fructose (which accounted for 97% of monosaccharides), despite substantial differences in surrounding forage composition. As expected, we observed temporal variation in pollen foraged by A. cerana japonica, likely dependent on flowering phenology. These prelimi-nary results suggest that the forage and nutrition of A. cerana japonica may not be negatively af-fected by urban land use. This highlights the need for further comparative studies between A. cerana japonica and A. mellifera as it could suggest a resilience in pollinators foraging in their na-tive range.

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29 Jul 2021 11:15
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15 Jul 2024 21:50