Some tropical bees have started to prefer raw meat to nectar – RT World News

Some tropical bees have recently turned into vultures, according to a new study. An American scientific team traveled to Costa Rica and discovered unique gut microbes that allow bees to digest the meat of dead animals instead of flower nectar.

These are the only bees in the world that evolved to use food sources not produced by plants, which is a pretty remarkable change in eating habits.Riverside entomologist Doug Yanega at the University of California said in a press release Tuesday.

According to scientists, the unexpected change in food preferences of insects could be explained by “intense competition for nectar. “

During their research in Costa Rica, entomologists analyzed and compared the microbiomes of stingless vulture bees with those of their relatives that feed on both meat and flowers, and those that feed exclusively on pollen. They discovered the most extreme changes, such as the presence of new bacteria, among the proprietary meat eaters they fed raw chicken.

The vulture bee microbiome is enriched with acidophilic bacteria, which are new bacteria that their parents do not have,UCR entomologist Quinn McFrederick said.These bacteria are similar to those found in real vultures, as well as hyenas and other scavengers, presumably to help protect them from pathogens that appear on carrion.. “

The researchers noted that although vulture bees cannot sting, many of them are “completely unpleasant. “Some of them produce blistering secretions that can cause painful sores. However, the honey from these bees is sweet and edible, scientists say.

They store the meat in special rooms which are closed for two weeks before entering them, and these rooms are separate from where the honey is stored,», Explained Maccaro.

The scientific team published the study in the American Society of Microbiologists journal mBio and plan to continue research.

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