Metrics to assess relative adult bee body size have included both mass and morphometrics, but these metrics may not equally or reliably estimate body size for all bee species and in all situations, due to bee age, diet, and/or environment. Understanding the relationships between different metrics and possible redundancies in the information they afford is important but not always known. Body size measurements provide valuable data for interpreting research outcomes for managed solitary bees, including Osmia lignaria Say and Megachile rotundata F. (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Applied studies of these important and readily available U.S. crop pollinators focus on refining commercial management practices, and basic empirical studies in various scientific disciplines (from genomics to ecology) employ them as model systems to study solitary bees. To examine common metrics of body size, we measured head capsule width (HCW), intertegular distance (ITD), and fresh and dry weights of newly emerged adults of both species. Using linear and exponential models, we determined relationships between these body size metrics. For M. rotundata, linear models best described relationships between ITD and all other metrics, and between HCW and fresh and dry weights. For O. lignaria, linear models best fit relationships between all metrics except for fresh weight with both ITD and HCW, which were fitted better with exponential models. For both species, model fits were strongest when males and females were pooled. Depending on the study question, knowing that only one metric may reliably measure body size can simplify evaluations of O. lignaria and M. rotundata responses to artificial or environmental variables.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)