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Biota Neotropica

On-line version ISSN 1676-0603

Abstract

BIESMEIJER, Jacobus C. et al. Connectance of Brazilian social bee: food plant networks is influenced by habitat, but not by latitude, altitude or network size. Biota Neotrop. [online]. 2005, vol.5, n.1, pp. 85-93. ISSN 1676-0603.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1676-06032005000100010.

Several recent studies suggest that the level of generalization (measured as percentage connectance) of plant-pollinator networks has several ecological correlates, e.g. latitude and altitude. Here we report on levels of generalization in 27 two-mode networks of social bees and their food plants in various Brazilian habitats and urban environments. Social bees are generalist foragers and are among the most abundant flower visitors in Brazil. They probably account for 30-50% of all plant - flower visitor interactions. Connectance was significantly influenced by habitat. Cerrado forests showed lower connectance than the dry dune habitats, with Atlantic rain forest and urban sites taking intermediate position and arid Caatinga being similar to dunes. This shows that generalization in a plant - flower visitor community can be influenced by habitat even within a group of generalist flower visitors, in our case social bees. We show that the strength of the interactions is not different between Cerrado and semi-arid habitats (dunes and Caatinga) and discuss other explanations for our findings.

Keywords : Pollination; stingless bees; Meliponini; Apis, Bombus; food plants.

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