Centris pallida are located in dry, hot environments of North America. Specifically, they are in Arizona, Nevada, southern California, New Mexico, and western Mexico. They are a very common bee (especially in Arizona), and are thus classified as Least Concern in terms of conservation. The fur and dark colored exoskeleton allow the bees to survive the cold nights in the desert. During the daytime, C. pallida are almost completely inactive, hiding in shade or in burrows to prevent overheating.
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There is a size correlation which determines whether males become patrollers or hoverers. Patrollers tend to be larger so that they can better protect and copulate with emerging females. Smaller males are usually unable to compete as well, and so have to make the best out of a bad situation; thus, they become hoverers. Each group has a different set of behaviors. The patrollers move over a large space containing many other patrollers. Usually, patrollers will frequent the same spots over the course of their lives. Since the area is so large, the cost to defend it against other patrollers would be much greater than the potential mating benefits, so the patrollers show very little territoriality. Patroller males will usually only fight when a breeding female is near. In contrast, each hoverer stakes out an area of about one meter in diameter. These areas don’t overlap with other hoverers. Any fast moving object (i.e. bee, dragonfly, leaf, etc.) that enters a territory will be quickly chased. The chase allows the male bee to determine if a female is unmated, or if an enemy male is in his territory. If it is a male bee, the territory owner will chase it out, but not beyond the boundary of the territory. What is interesting is that every day (or even every several hours) the territory holder will abandon the area to establish a new zone. Often the male will never return to the vacated area, and it will be taken over by another male. This shows that hoverers show a low site tendency but strong territoriality. A balanced ratio of patrollers to hoverers is maintained, and thus, this ratio is an evolutionary stable strategy. If more males become patrollers, then the hoverers will benefit from the reduced competition, and the hoverers' genes will spread until the stable ratio is returned to. The same thing will happen if more males become hoverers.
Centris pallida are able to withstand very high internal temperatures when compared to other bees. Males regularly have thoracic temperatures of 48 to 49 degrees Celsius (118.4 to 120.2 degrees Fahrenheit). If the thoracic temperature reaches 51 to 52 degrees Celsius (123.8 to 125.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the bee will become paralyzed and die. Most of the cooling occurs when heat radiates off the abdomen. To prevent overheating, C. pallida have a very high thoracic conductance (rate of heat transfer from the thorax to the abdomen) which is 45 percent higher than that of sphinx moths of the same size. Other than this high thoracic conductance, no other mechanism has been found to help the bee reduce its internal temperature. C. pallida do not appear to have evaporative cooling in the wild as honey bees and bumblebees do.
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