A recent work by our research group has described the presence of a fungus, belonging to the genus Zygosaccharomyces, inside the rearing cells of Scaptotrigona depilis, which provides ergosterol for the development of larvae of this stingless bee. This account shows a close symbiotic relationship between the bee and the fungus. Symbiotic interactions have already been reported in social insects, such as leaf-cutting ants, termites, but little is known about this interaction between bees, evidencing the importance of studies involving these organisms. In addition, in view of the alarming decline of the world bee population, greater knowledge about these pollinators is of paramount importance. Therefore, this project aims to expand the previous study, using different species of stingless bee that occur in the Brazilian territory and for which the presence of fungus in the breeding cell has already been evidenced. The fungi-food of different species will be isolated and the production of steroids by these fungi will be evaluated by GC-MS. The project will broaden the understanding of the symbiosis between fungi present in the breeding cell and the stingless bees, contributing to the planning of possible strategies for the preservation of these important pollinators.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: