1. 1.

    We assess the importance of body mass and the minimum ambient temperature at which foraging occurs in determining the warm-up rates and thoracic temperatures in flight at an air temperature of 22°C of 55 species of bee (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) from six families adapted to a variety of thermal environments.

  2. 2.

    To control for the effects of taxonomic differences in the relationships between these variables, we use multiple regression incorporated in the phylogenetic regression method developed by Grafen (1989).

  3. 3.

    The prediction made by May (1976) that for very small heterotherms warmup rate will correlate positively with body mass is confirmed when the effects of phylogeny and the thermal environment to which the bee is adapted have been controlled for. The relationship between warm-up rate and body mass within the Apoidea is thus not an extension to lower body masses of the relationship found for heterothermic vertebrates.

  4. 4.

    Having controlled for the effects of body mass in our analyses, we demonstrate that bees able to fly at lower ambient temperatures have higher thoracic temperatures and warm-up rates than bees adapted to wanner environments.

  5. 5.

    There is some suggestion that kleptoparasitic bees, being freed from the need to forage in order to provision cells, have lower warm-up rates than provisioning species.

  6. 6.

    The significance of these relationships in the ecology of bees is discussed in relation to studies of body temperatures and warm-up rates in bees and other insects.

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