|Title||When Bees Get a Taste for Dead Things: Meat-Eating 'Vulture Bees' Sport Acidic Guts|
|Date||Wednesday November 24, @08:53PM|
|from the ZOMBEES! dept.|
When bees get a taste for dead things: Meat-eating 'vulture bees' sport acidic guts:
A little-known species of tropical bee has evolved an extra tooth for biting flesh and a gut that more closely resembles that of vultures rather than other bees.
Typically, bees don't eat meat. However, a species of stingless bee in the tropics has evolved the ability to do so, presumably due to intense competition for nectar.
"These are the only bees in the world that have evolved to use food sources not produced by plants, which is a pretty remarkable change in dietary habits," said UC Riverside entomologist Doug Yanega.
Honeybees, bumblebees, and stingless bees have guts that are colonized by the same five core microbes. "Unlike humans, whose guts change with every meal, most bee species have retained these same bacteria over roughly 80 million years of evolution," said Jessica Maccaro, a UCR entomology doctoral student.
Given their radical change in food choice, a team of UCR scientists wondered whether the vulture bees' gut bacteria differed from those of a typical vegetarian bee. They differed quite dramatically, according to a study the team published today in the American Society of Microbiologists' journal mBio.
Laura L. Figueroa, Jessica J. Maccaro, Erin Krichilsky, et al. Why Did the Bee Eat the Chicken? Symbiont Gain, Loss, and Retention in the Vulture Bee Microbiome, mBio [open] (DOI: 10.1128/mBio.02317-21)
printed from SoylentNews, When Bees Get a Taste for Dead Things: Meat-Eating 'Vulture Bees' Sport Acidic Guts on 2021-12-03 12:53:37