If you don't live in the tropics, you shouldn't be afraid of them If you imagine a bee, you are most likely thinking of a beautiful bee buzzing from flower to flower and collecting pollen to return it to the hive. But a more unusual group of bees can be found in rainforests, which feed on carrion so often that as a result, their gut microbiome is similar to that of hyenas and vultures, which also feed on carrion, scientists from the United States have found. Discuss
Since they feed on corpses rather than collecting pollen, this species has a much smaller pollen basket compared to the “ vegetarian '' bees.
These are the only bees in the world that have evolved to consume food sources not produced by plants, which is a rather remarkable change in dietary habits
Doug Yaneg and his colleagues wondered if these vulture bees developed excellent microbiomes, given their radical dietary change, and ran a series of experiments to find out.
The adult bees used in the experiments were collected from field stations in La Selva and Las Cruces, Costa Rica, in April 2019. For comparison, the team also collected bees that ate both meat and flowers, as well as bees that ate exclusively on pollen. meat. These microbiomes had a lot of Lactobacillus bacteria, and they are known to help digest flesh.
These bacteria are similar to those found in real vultures, as well as hyenas and other animals that feed on carrion, which, presumably , helps protect them from pathogens that may appear in carrion.
Source: ARS Technica