Meat Eating Vulture Bees

Jay Kakade
Vulture Bees
Image Credit : Quinn McFrederick/UCR

Scientists were exploring around Costa Rica's Tropical Forests, In search of an special Bee called Carrion-Eating Bees. Scientists leaved an block of meat on a tree and within five days some large bees assembled on the Meat. Biting Meat with their special teeth. They carried the flesh with their Hind Legs or by swallowing it to store into their stomach.

Bees were on the verge to carry meat to their hives, where flesh can be stored for weeks and feed their babies. But scientists are unsure what happened t meat in their hive for weeks. As adult bees don't have to eat proteins hey feed on Nectar. (This bees also carried pollens in their Hind Legs for feeding babies. But some species feeds their babies completely on meat, This are called 'Vulture Bees')

Some researchers are curious how this bees rely on Carrion-Based Diet. Though Fresh meat can be good, But Rotten flesh can spread microbial disease like Salmonella, Which can be deadly. Therefore some researchers have captured this type of bees, To study their guts. It was discovered that they possess same type of guts of that of Vulture of Hyena rather than relative nectar feeding bees.

Gut Bacteria

Gut Bacteria of Vulture Bees may have helped them to fight with pathogens of rotten flesh. While capturing Bees, It was observed Chicken Flesh attracted Bees feeding only on Meat and some bees feeding on Both Meat and Pollen. Scientists capture all types of bees to compare gut of Carnivorous, Omnivorous and Vegetarian Bees. 


Vulture Bees guts were a lot different than pollen-eating bees. Vulture bees had a lots of Acid Producing bacteria like Lactobacillus. This may have saved them from pathogens born out of rotten flesh. This bacteria are very much similar to bacteria found in Vulture and Hyenas. But Vulture and Hyenas produces much of the acid by own not relying on bacteria, while bees rely on bacteria to produce acids.

Scientists and researchers are curious to know what happens to meat stores in hives. Researchers observed, Meat is stored for more than 2 weeks and sealed in hives.

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