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Kleptoparasitism in the endemic gecko Phelsuma inexpectata: pollen theft from foraging honeybees on Réunion

  • Johanna Clémencet (a1), Cyril Aubert (a1), Doriane Blottière (a1) and Mickaël Sanchez (a2)

Interspecific kleptoparasitism (the stealing of already-procured items from other species) has received little attention in tropical reptiles. We report here the second case of kleptoparasitism in tropical lizards, and the first known case of pollen theft by a vertebrate species. Phelsuma inexpectata, a gekkonid lizard endemic to Réunion, was observed robbing pollen pellets from honeybees (Apis mellifera) foraging on Latania lontaroides flowers. Video-records were used to obtain reliable information on gecko-honeybee interactions occurring on L. lontaroides inflorescences. During the 19 observation periods (total duration 140 min) a total of 78 attempts were recorded, at least 40% were successful. Both males and females displayed kleptoparasitic behaviour. A high level of gecko kleptoparasitism occurred, with an average one-robbery attempt every 2 min. Behaviour of both the kleptoparasitic P. inexpectata and its host A. mellifera are described.

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Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • ISSN: 0266-4674
  • EISSN: 1469-7831
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-tropical-ecology
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