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Physiology of Brood Incubation in the Bumblebee Queen, Bombus vosnesenskii


ONE of the parameters affecting the rate of growth and reproduction of poikilothermic organisms is temperature. In social insects such as bumblebees1–3, which must build up their colonies rapidly to complete the cycle within a single season, the maintenance of a high nest temperature would permit the more rapid development of the poikilothermic eggs, larvae and pupae. Although heat production by bumblebees in their nests4 has been observed since the last century, little is known about nest temperature regulation in the initial stages of colony founding5–7. The queen initiating the colony in the spring perches on her brood clump containing the eggs which develop into the first set of workers1–6. I report here on the temperatures of the brood clump, the attending queen, and her thermoregulatory physiology.

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HEINRICH, B. Physiology of Brood Incubation in the Bumblebee Queen, Bombus vosnesenskii. Nature 239, 223–225 (1972).

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