social bee

Vulture bee

Vulture bees are a small group of three closely-related American stingless bee species in the genus Trigona which feed on rotting meat rather than pollen or nectar. These are the only known bees which do not rely on plant products for food. This unusual behavior was only discovered in 1982, nearly two centuries after the bees were first classified. The three species in this group are:

Trigona crassipes (Fabricius, 1793)

Trigona hypogea hypogea Silvestri, 1902 and Trigona hypogea robustior Schwarz, 1948 (two subspecies within T. hypogea)

Trigona necrophaga Camargo & Roubik, 1991


  • Roubik, D.W. 1982. Obligate necrophagy in a social bee. Science 217: 1059-1060.
  • Camargo, J.M.F. & Roubik, D.W. 1991. Systematics and bionomics of the apoid obligate necrophages: the Trigona hypogea group. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 44: 13-39.



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