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Atanu Bhattacharyya, Shashidhar Viraktamath, Fani Hatjina, Santanu Bhattacharyya, Bhaktibhavana Rajankar and Amitava Patra

Abstract

The presence of nanoparticles on the body of the honeybee Apis dorsata Fabricius, was investigated for the first time to better understand the bee’s behaviour. These have been observed by using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and confirmed by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Our study clearly denotes that the Indian rock honey bee Apis dorsata possess calcium silicate and calcium phosphate nanoparticles on its body surface of 5-50 nm in diameter. In particular, the nanoparticles on the abdomen and thorax of A. dorsata have an average diameter of about 10 nanometers and they are smaller than those found on wings of the same bees which are about 20 nanometers. The nanoparticles found are different of the ones previously observed on honey bees or other insects. The origin and role of these natural nanoparticles on the body of the Indian rock bee need to be to be further investigated; more research in the subject might raise important aspects in relation to the conservation of these unique pollinators.