Light intensity regulates flower visitation in Neotropical nocturnal bees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The foraging activity of diurnal bees often relies on flower availability, light intensity and temperature. We do not know how nocturnal bees, which fly at night and twilight, cope with these factors, especially as light levels vary considerably from night to day and from night to night due to moon phase and cloud cover. Given that bee apposition compound eyes function at their limits in dim light, we expect a strong dependence of foraging activity on light intensity in nocturnal bees. Besides being limited by minimum light levels to forage, nocturnal bees should also avoid foraging at brighter intensities, which bring increased competition with other bees. We investigated how five factors (light intensity, flower availability, temperature, humidity, and wind) affect flower visitation by Neotropical nocturnal bees in cambuci (Campomanesia phaea, Myrtaceae). We counted visits per minute over 30 nights in 33 cambuci trees. Light intensity was the main variable explaining flower visitation of nocturnal bees, which peaked at intermediate light levels occurring 25 min before sunrise. The minimum light intensity threshold to visit flowers was 0.00024 cd/m2. Our results highlight the dependence of these nocturnal insects on adequate light levels to explore resources.


  • Rodolfo Liporoni
  • Guaraci Duran Cordeiro
  • Paulo Inácio Prado
  • Clemens Schlindwein
  • Eric James Warrant
  • Isabel Alves-dos-Santos
External organisations
  • University of São Paulo
  • Federal University of Minas Gerais
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
Original languageEnglish
Article number15333
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch