“Vulture bees” evolved a taste for flesh—and their microbiomes reflect that

Enlarge / University of California, Riverside scientists suspended fresh pieces of raw chicken from branches to attract carrion-feeding “vulture bees” in Costa Rica.Quinn McFrederick/UCR

Ask a random person to picture a bee, and they’ll likely conjure up the familiar black-and-yellow striped creature buzzing from flower to flower collecting pollen to bring back to the hive. But a more unusual group of bees can be found “slicing chunks of meat from carcasses in tropical rainforests,” according to the authors of a new paper published in the journal mBio. As a result, these bees have gut microbiomes that are markedly different from their fellow

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