Body size variation in bees: regulation, mechanisms, and relationship to social organization

H. Chole, Sarah Hollis Woodard, Guy Bloch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Size polymorphism is common in bees, and is determined by environmental factors such as temperature, brood cell size, and the diet provided to developing larvae. In social bees, these factors are further influenced by intricate interactions between the queen, workers, and the developing brood which eventually determine the final size and caste of developing larvae. Environmental and social factors act in part on juvenile hormone and ecdysteroids, which are key hormonal regulators of body size and caste determination. In some social bees, body size variation is central for social organization because it structures reproductive division of labor, task allocation among workers, or both. At ecological scales, body size also impacts bee-mediated pollination services in solitary and social species by influencing floral visitation and pollination efficacy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)77-87
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Opinion in Insect Science
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by research grants from the US–Israel Binational Science Foundation ( BSF ; to G.B. and S.H.W.), the US–Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund ( BARD ; to G.B. and S.H.W.), The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI; to G.B), and USDA NIFA (to S. H. W.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Body size variation in bees: regulation, mechanisms, and relationship to social organization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this