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Social wasps (Vespidae: Polistinae) in Cerrado and Caatinga conservation units, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Vespas sociais (Vespidae: Polistinae) em unidades de conservação do Cerrado e da Caatinga, Minas Gerais, Brasil

Abstract

The Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas, northern Minas Gerais, is located in the Cerrado, a global hotspot, and the literature lacks information about its communities of social wasps, insects that perform numerous services for the functioning of ecosystems. Therefore, this study aimed to conduct an inventory of social wasps (Vespidae: Polistinae) in the Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas, and compare its richness and composition with three other fully protected conservation units in northern Minas Gerais and Vale do Jequitinhonha, Minas Gerais. A total of 41 species of 14 genera of social wasps were recorded, including a new occurrence in the state: Mischocyttarus campestris Raw, 1985. The presence of distinct social wasp communities in the Cerrado and Caatinga conservation units analyzed in this study, reinforces and justifies the creation of these fully protected areas, which ensure the conservation of this biological heritage and the environmental services provided by these taxa, besides providing subsidies for the management and sustainable use of the natural resources of these conservation units.

Keywords
Biodiversity; Dry Forest; Hymenoptera; Mischocyttarus; Veredas

Resumen

O Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas, norte de Minas Gerais, inserido no Cerrado, hotspot mundial, carece de informações sobre a comunidade de vespas sociais, insetos que desempenham inúmeros serviços para o funcionamento dos ecossistemas. Portanto, o objetivo deste estudo foi realizar um inventário de vespas sociais (Vespidae: Polistinae) no Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas, além de comparar sua riqueza e composição com à de outras três Unidades de Conservação de proteção integral no Norte e no Vale do Jequitinhonha no estado de Minas Gerais. Foram registradas 41 espécies de 14 gêneros de vespas sociais, com um novo registro de ocorrência para o estado, Mischocyttarus campestris Raw, 1985. A presença de comunidades distintas de vespas sociais nas Unidades de Conservação no Cerrado e Caatinga, analisadas no presente estudo, reforça e justifica a criação dessas áreas de proteção integral, que assegura a conservação desse patrimônio biológico, bem como os serviços ambientais prestados por esses táxons, além de fornecer subsídios para o manejo e uso sustentável dos recursos naturais dessas Unidades de Conservação.

Palavras-chave
Biodiversidade; Mata Seca; Hymenoptera; Mischocyttarus; Veredas

Introduction

The Cerrado is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots (Myers et al. 2000MYERS, N., MITTERMEIER, R.A., MITTERMEIER, C.G., FONSECA, G.A. & KENT, J. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature, 403:853–858. https://doi.org/10.1038/35002501
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; Klink & Machado 2005KLINK, C.A. & MACHADO, R.B. 2005. A conservação do Cerrado brasileiro. Megadiversidade, 1:147–155. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005.00702.x
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005...
; Mittemeier et al. 2011), as it is home to a great diversity of species, including endemic (Myers et al. 2000MYERS, N., MITTERMEIER, R.A., MITTERMEIER, C.G., FONSECA, G.A. & KENT, J. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature, 403:853–858. https://doi.org/10.1038/35002501
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; Silva & Bates 2002SILVA, J.M.C. & BATES, J.M. 2002. Biogeographic patterns and conservation in the South American Cerrado: a tropical savanna hotspot. BioScience, 52:225–233. https://doi.org/10.1641/0006-3568(2002)052[0225:BPACIT]2.0.CO;2
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; ICMBio 2018ICMBio. 2018. Livro Vermelho da Fauna Brasileira Ameaçada de Extinção. Instituto Brasileiro Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade, Brasília – DF. 495 pp.) and endangered species (Aquino & Oliveira 2006AQUINO, F.G. & OLIVEIRA, M.C. 2006. Reserva legal no bioma cerrado: uso e preservação. Planaltina, DF: Embrapa Cerrados, 25p.; ICMBio 2018ICMBio. 2018. Livro Vermelho da Fauna Brasileira Ameaçada de Extinção. Instituto Brasileiro Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade, Brasília – DF. 495 pp.). Although considered the richest savanna on the planet, covering about 23.9% of the Brazilian territory (MMA 2023MMA. 2023. Painel Unidades de Conservação Brasileiras – Departamento de áreas protegidas. Ministério do Meio Ambiente.), studies show that 55% of its original area was deforested or transformed by human action. In contrast, only 8.21% of its estimated area is protected by conservation units (CUs) (MMA 2023MMA. 2023. Painel Unidades de Conservação Brasileiras – Departamento de áreas protegidas. Ministério do Meio Ambiente.). The state of Minas Gerais has 23 state parks, 12 national parks, nine natural monuments, four ecological stations, and three wildlife refuges, which represent 1.53% of the state’s territory and ensure the full protection of about 2.69% of the Cerrado in Minas Gerais (Drummond 2005DRUMMOND, G.M. 2005. Biodiversidade em Minas Gerais: um atlas para sua conservação. Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Fundação Biodiversitas. 222p.; MMA 2023MMA. 2023. Painel Unidades de Conservação Brasileiras – Departamento de áreas protegidas. Ministério do Meio Ambiente.).

The Caatinga, a semi-arid climate, occupies 11% of the Brazilian territory, which encompasses the northeastern states and part of the north of Minas Gerais (EMBRAPA 2022EMBRAPA. 2022. Bioma Caatinga. Available in https://www.embrapa.br/agencia-de-informacao-tecnologica/tematicas/bioma-caatinga. Acessed on: 23/Oct/2023.
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). Although not being a hotspot, it shelters a relevant insect biodiversity (Andena & Carpenter 2003), and a high rate of vegetal endemism (Taylor & Zappi 2002TAYLOR, N.P. & ZAPPI, D. 2002. Distribuição das espécies de Cactaceae na caatinga. In: SAMPAIO, E.V.S.B., GIULIETTI, A.M., VIRGÍNIO, J. & GAMARRA-ROJAS, C.F.L. (Eds.), Vegetação e flora das caatingas. APNE/CNIP, Recife, PE, p.123–125.; Fernandes et al. 2020FERNANDES, M.F., CARDOSO, D. & QUEIROZ, L.P. 2020. An updated plant checklist of the Brazilian Caatinga seasonally dry forests and woodlands reveals high species richness and endemism. Journal of Arid Environments, 174:104079. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2019.104079
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2019....
). Despite its relevance, only 1.2% of the Caatinga territory is under protection of CUs (Brasil 2016BRASIL. 2016. 5° Relatório Nacional para a Convenção sobre Diversidade Biológica. Brasília: Ministério do Meio Ambiente.), an alarming fact due to the several anthropic pressures that are causing a growing desertification process (Santos et al. 2022SANTOS, N.O., MACHADO, R.A.S. & GONZÁLEZ, R.C.L. 2022. Identification of levels of anthropization and its implications in the process of desertification in the Caatinga biome (Jeremoabo, Bahia-Brazil). Geographical Research Letters, 48:41–57. https://doi.org/10.18172/cig.5212
https://doi.org/10.18172/cig.5212...
).

CUs are essential for biota conservation in Brazil (Salvio 2017SALVIO, G.M.M. 2017. Áreas Naturais Protegidas e indicadores socioeconômicos: O desafio da conservação da natureza. Jundiaí: Paco Editorial.) by ensuring the preservation of natural habitats and providing abiotic and biotic conditions for maintaining viable populations. This preserves different ecosystem services provided by insects such as social wasps (Vespidae: Polistinae), which perform biological control (Prezoto et al. 2019PREZOTO, F., MACIEL, T.T., DETONI, M., MAYORQUIN, A.Z. & BARBOSA, B.C. 2019. Pest control potential of social wasps in small farms and urban gardens. Insects, 10(7):192. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10070192
https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10070192...
; Lourido et al. 2019LOURIDO, G.M., LOPES, T.M.V., SOMAVILLA, A. & GUERRA, K.F.G. 2019. Social wasps as biological control agents against Diaphania hyalinata (Linnaeus, 1767) (Lepidoptera, Crambidae), a cucumber pest in Amazonas, Brazil. Sociobiology, 66(4):610–613. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v66i4.3576
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) and pollination (Suhs et al. 2009SÜHS, R. B., SOMAVILLA, A., KÖHLER, A. & PUTZKE, J. 2009. Vespídeos (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) vetores de pólen de Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Anacardiaceae), Santa Cruz do Sul, RS, Brasil. Revista Brasileira de Biociências, 7:138–143.; Bergamo et al. 2021BERGAMO, P.J., STREHER, N.S., ZAMBON, V., WOLOWSKI, M. & SAZIMA, M. 2021. Pollination generalization and reproductive assurance by selfing in a tropical montane ecosystem. The Science of Nature, 108(6):1–21. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-021-01764-8
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-021-01764...
).

The CUs in Minas Gerais meet the objective of conserving these insects, since they are home to more than 90% of the species sampled in the state, including 34 recorded only in CUs (Oliveira et al. 2021OLIVEIRA, G.C.D.S., HENRIQUES, N.R., CLEMENTE, M.A. & SOUZA, M.M. 2021. Conservation Units as a protection tool for social wasps in Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia, 61:e20216125. http://doi.org/10.11606/1807-0205/2021.61.25
https://doi.org/10.11606/1807-0205/2021....
). This information comes from inventory studies, which also contribute to the management of CUs, with the assessment of the carrying capacity of the area, for example, which is important for the implementation of ecotourism (Jesus & Selva 2009JESUS, J.S. & SELVA, V.S.F. 2009. Ecoturismo como contribuição à gestão de Unidades de Conservação. Revista Nordestina de Ecoturismo, 2:43. https://doi.org/10.6008/ESS1983-8344.2009.001.0006:
https://doi.org/10.6008/ESS1983-8344.200...
) and justifies studies to know the occurrence and distribution of species in ecosystems.

The number of studies on the diversity and distribution of social wasps in Brazil increased in the first two decades of the 21st century (Barbosa et al. 2016BARBOSA, B.C., DETONI, M., MACIEL, T.T. & PREZOTO, F. 2016. Studies of social wasp diversity in Brazil: Over 30 years of research, advancements and priorities. Sociobiology, 63:858–880. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v63i3.1031
https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v6...
; Souza et al. 2020aSOUZA, M.M., TEOFILO-GUEDES, G.S., BUENO, E.T., MILANI, L.R. & SOUZA, A.S.B. 2020a. Social wasps (Hymenoptera, Polistinae) from the Brazilian savanna. Sociobiology, 67:129–138. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v67i2.4958
https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v6...
, bSOUZA, M.M., GUEDES, G.T., MILANI, L.R., SOUZA, A.S.B. & GOMES, P.P. 2020b. Social Wasps (Vespidae: Polistinae) from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Sociobiology, 67:01–12. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v67i1.4597
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), northern Minas Gerais and Vale do Jequitinhonha, Minas Gerais, still have undersampled ecosystems, such as areas of Cerrado and transition to Caatinga (Brunismann et al. 2016BRUNISMANN, A.G., SOUZA, M.M., PIRES, E.P., COELHO, E.L. & MILANI, L.R. 2016. Social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in deciduous Seasonal Forest in south eastern Brazil. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies, 4:447–45.; Souza et al. 2020aSOUZA, M.M., TEOFILO-GUEDES, G.S., BUENO, E.T., MILANI, L.R. & SOUZA, A.S.B. 2020a. Social wasps (Hymenoptera, Polistinae) from the Brazilian savanna. Sociobiology, 67:129–138. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v67i2.4958
https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v6...
; Jacques et al. 2023JACQUES, G.C., BARBOSA, L.D., GOUVÊA, T.P., SIMÕES, N.A., SILVA, G.T.G.; SILVEIRA, O.T. & SOUZA, M.M. 2023. Influence of dry season on social wasp communities (Hymenoptera: Polistinae) in Deciduous Forest. Sociobiology,70(2):e8361. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v70i2.8361
https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v7...
), due to the greater sampling effort in areas of Atlantic Forest (Barbosa et al. 2016BARBOSA, B.C., DETONI, M., MACIEL, T.T. & PREZOTO, F. 2016. Studies of social wasp diversity in Brazil: Over 30 years of research, advancements and priorities. Sociobiology, 63:858–880. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v63i3.1031
https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v6...
; Souza et al. 2017SOUZA, M.M., BRUNISMANN, A.G. & CLEMENTE, M.A. 2017. Species composition, relative abundance and distribution of social wasps fauna on different ecosystems. Sociobiology, 64:456–465. http://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v64i4.1839
https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v6...
; Souza et al. 2020bSOUZA, M.M., GUEDES, G.T., MILANI, L.R., SOUZA, A.S.B. & GOMES, P.P. 2020b. Social Wasps (Vespidae: Polistinae) from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Sociobiology, 67:01–12. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v67i1.4597
https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v6...
), which shows the need to obtain more information about the occurrence and distribution of these insects in these ecosystems, especially in CUs (Oliveira et al. 2021OLIVEIRA, G.C.D.S., HENRIQUES, N.R., CLEMENTE, M.A. & SOUZA, M.M. 2021. Conservation Units as a protection tool for social wasps in Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia, 61:e20216125. http://doi.org/10.11606/1807-0205/2021.61.25
https://doi.org/10.11606/1807-0205/2021....
).

Therefore, this study aimed to conduct an inventory of social wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) in the Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas, and compare its richness and composition with three other fully protected conservation units in northern Minas Gerais and Vale do Jequitinhonha.

Materials and Methods

This study was performed in the Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas (15°6’S and 45°48’W), in the municipality of Chapada Gaúcha, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The total area of the park is about 230,671 hectares, with an altitude of 600 to 900 m, characterized by sandstone plateaus covered by vegetation of the Cerrado biome. Its phytophysiognomies include Cerrado sensu stricto, Cerradão, vereda, gallery forest, campo sujo, and campo limpo (FUNATURA 2003FUNATURA (Fundação Pró-Natureza). 2003. Plano de Manejo do Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas. Brasília, p. 428.; Ribeiro & Walter 2008RIBEIRO, J.F. & WALTER, B.M.T. 2008. As principais fitofisionomias do bioma cerrado. In: SANO, S.M., ALMEIDA, S.P. & RIBEIRO, J.F. (Eds.), Cerrado: ecologia e flora. Embrapa-Cerrados: Brasília, p. 151–199.). The climate of the region is tropical, in sub-humid conditions, with an average annual temperature of about 23°C, with maximums of 37°C to 40°C and minimums of 16°C to 19°C (FUNATURA 2003FUNATURA (Fundação Pró-Natureza). 2003. Plano de Manejo do Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas. Brasília, p. 428.). The dry season in winter begins in May and lasts until September/October, and the rainy season in summer is from November to March. The average rainfall is 1,400 mm/year (FUNATURA 2003FUNATURA (Fundação Pró-Natureza). 2003. Plano de Manejo do Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas. Brasília, p. 428.).

For this study, two methodologies were used for sampling social wasps: active and passive (Jacques et al. 2018JACQUES, G.C., PIRES, E.P., HERMES, M.G., FARIA, L.D.B., SOUZA, M.M. & SILVEIRA, L.C.P. 2018. Evaluating the efficiency of different sampling methods to survey social wasps (Vespidae: Polistinae) in an anthropized environment. Sociobiology, 65(3):515–523. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v65i3.2849
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), since the simultaneous use of different sampling methodologies optimizes the recording of species (Barbosa et al. 2020BARBOSA, B.C., MACIEL, T.T. & PREZOTO, F. 2020. Efficiency of social wasp sampling methods. Brazilian Journal of Development, 6(10):83225–83236. https://doi.org/10.34117/bjdv6n10-670
https://doi.org/10.34117/bjdv6n10-670...
). Active sampling consisted of capturing social wasps in flight and/or in colonies with entomological nets (Souza & Prezoto 2006SOUZA, M.M. & PREZOTO, F. 2006. Diversity of social wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) in semideciduous forest and cerrado (savanna) regions in Brazil. Sociobiology, 47(1):135–147.) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Jacques et al. 2023JACQUES, G.C., BARBOSA, L.D., GOUVÊA, T.P., SIMÕES, N.A., SILVA, G.T.G.; SILVEIRA, O.T. & SOUZA, M.M. 2023. Influence of dry season on social wasp communities (Hymenoptera: Polistinae) in Deciduous Forest. Sociobiology,70(2):e8361. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v70i2.8361
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) for 24 days, six days per season, in September and November 2022 during the dry season, and in February and April 2023 during the rainy season. Four researchers conducted the searches, totaling 144 hours of sampling effort per researcher. They moved along pre-existing trails or roads in areas of gallery forests, campo sujo, campo limpo, veredas, and Cerrado stricto sensu.

Passive sampling was performed using attractant traps made with two-liter disposable PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles. Three triangular openings were made on the sides of the bottles (2 × 2 × 2 cm), about 10 cm from the base, and 150 ml of attractant were placed in each (Souza & Prezoto 2006SOUZA, M.M. & PREZOTO, F. 2006. Diversity of social wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) in semideciduous forest and cerrado (savanna) regions in Brazil. Sociobiology, 47(1):135–147.). They were distributed in areas of veredas, gallery forests, and Cerrado sensu stricto by two different transects, totaling 20 traps, 10 with molasses diluted in water in a 50–50 proportion and 10 with passion fruit juice. The traps were positioned 10 m from each other and 1.5 m above the ground (Jacques et al. 2018JACQUES, G.C., PIRES, E.P., HERMES, M.G., FARIA, L.D.B., SOUZA, M.M. & SILVEIRA, L.C.P. 2018. Evaluating the efficiency of different sampling methods to survey social wasps (Vespidae: Polistinae) in an anthropized environment. Sociobiology, 65(3):515–523. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v65i3.2849
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), and were in the field for six days in each campaign, accounting for 576 hours of sampling per bottle used.

At both collection times, the specimens were sacrificed and stored in 70% alcohol for later identification in the laboratory. The genera and species were identified using dichotomous keys proposed by Richards (1978)RICHARDS, O.W. 1978. The social wasp of the Americas. London: British Museum of natural History, 580p. and Somavilla & Carpenter (2021)SOMAVILLA, A. & CARPENTER J.M. 2021. Key to the Genera of Social Wasps (Polistinae) Occurring in Neotropics. In: PREZOTO, F., NASCIMENTO, F.S., BARBOSA, B.C. & SOMAVILLA, A. (Eds), Neotropical Social Wasps. Springer, Cham, p.327–336., and compared with the biological collection of social wasps (BCSW) of the Instituto Federal do Sul de Minas Gerais (IFSULDEMINAS), where the specimens are deposited (Tumble No. 09573-2022 to 09708-2023). The samples with doubtful taxonomy were sent to Dr. Orlando Tobias Silveira (Museu Emílio Goeldi, Belém, Pará), who collaborated with the identifications.

To evaluate the sampling effort, an accumulation curve was constructed using the observed richness with 95% confidence interval, under Bootstrap 1 estimator in the EstimateS 9.1.0 software (Cowell & Elsensohn 2014COWELL, R.K. & ELSENSONH, J.E. 2014. EstimateS turns 20: statistical estimation of species richness and shared species from samples, with non-parametric extrapolation. Ecography, 37(6):609–613. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.00814.
https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.00814...
). This estimator uses information from all species collected instead of restricting the analysis to rare species (Santos 2003SANTOS, A. J. 2003. Estimativas de riqueza de espécies. In: RUDRAN, R., CULLEN, L. & VALLADARES-PADUA, C. (Eds.). Métodos de estudo em biologia da conservação e manejo da vida terrestre. Curitiba: Editorada Universidade Federal do Paraná. p. 19–41.).

The species richness of the area studied was compared to three other CUs in northern Minas Gerais and Vale do Jequitinhonha (Figure 1), which used similar methodologies: the Parque Nacional das Sempre-Vivas (PNSV), an area of Cerrado associated with campo rupestre (Souza et al. 2020aSOUZA, M.M., TEOFILO-GUEDES, G.S., BUENO, E.T., MILANI, L.R. & SOUZA, A.S.B. 2020a. Social wasps (Hymenoptera, Polistinae) from the Brazilian savanna. Sociobiology, 67:129–138. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v67i2.4958
https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v6...
); the Refúgio da Vida Silvestre do Rio Pandeiros (RVSRP), Cerrado-Caatinga transition zone (Brunismann et al. 2016BRUNISMANN, A.G., SOUZA, M.M., PIRES, E.P., COELHO, E.L. & MILANI, L.R. 2016. Social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in deciduous Seasonal Forest in south eastern Brazil. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies, 4:447–45.); and the Parque Estadual da Mata Seca (PEMS), located in an area of Caatinga (Jacques et al. 2023JACQUES, G.C., BARBOSA, L.D., GOUVÊA, T.P., SIMÕES, N.A., SILVA, G.T.G.; SILVEIRA, O.T. & SOUZA, M.M. 2023. Influence of dry season on social wasp communities (Hymenoptera: Polistinae) in Deciduous Forest. Sociobiology,70(2):e8361. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v70i2.8361
https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v7...
) (Figure 2).

Figure 1.
Location of the Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas; approximate distance and elevation of the other conservation units compared with northern Minas Gerais (Parque Estadual da Mata Seca and Refúgio da Vida Silvestre do Rio Pandeiros) and Vale do Jequitinhonha (Parque Nacional das Sempre-Vivas), Minas Gerais, Southeastern Brazil.
Figure 2.
Conservation units where the degree of similarity of social wasp communities in the state of Minas Gerais was evaluated: Caatinga, Parque Estadual da Mata Seca (a–b); Cerrado associated with campo rupestre, Parque Nacional das Sempre-Vivas (c–d); Cerrado-Caatinga transition zone, Refúgio da Vida Silvestre do Rio Pandeiros (e–f); Cerrado, Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas (g–h).

To evaluate the similarity of the species community between the areas, a principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) was performed using Jaccard’s index, produced from the presence/absence data of the species. Then, a permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) was performed using the same software to check for any significant difference in the community between the areas. Moreover, a cluster analysis of diversity among the areas was performed, also using Jaccard’s similarity index. All analyses were performed using the Past program (Hammer et al. 2005HAMMER, O., HARPER, D.A.T. & RYAN, P.D. 2005. Past: paleontological statistics software package for education and data analysis. Palaeontologica Electronica, 4:1–9.). Wasps not identified to species level were removed from analyses. The study was authorized by SISBIO license No. 83294-1.

Results

1.

Richness and composition of the social wasp fauna

We recorded 41 species of 14 genera of social wasps in the Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas (PNGSV) (Table 1; Figure 3), especially Mischocyttarus campestris Raw, 1985 (Figure 4), which is a new occurrence in the state of Minas Gerais.

Table 1.
Social wasp species and richness in the Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas (PNGSV), the Parque Estadual da Mata Seca (PEMS), the Refúgio da Vida Silvestre do Rio Pandeiros (RVSRP), and the Parque Nacional das Sempre-Vivas (PNSV). (1 = presence; 0 = absence).
Figure 3.
Some species of Polistinae recorded in the Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas, northern Minas Gerais: (a) Synoeca surinama; (b) Chartergus globiventris; (c) Apoica pallens; (d) Brachygastra augusti; (e) Polybia ruficeps; (f) Mischocyttarus campestris; (g) Chartergellus communis; (h) Mischocyttarus latior; (i) Parachartergus fraternus.
Figure 4.
Mischocyttarus campestris collected in the Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas, northern Minas Gerais.

The richness of the PNGSV may be even higher than our records shows, according to the species accumulation curve (Figure 5), which has not reached an asymptote. Moreover, the number of species estimated by BootStrap1 is 44.65, outside the 95% confidence limit.

Figure 5.
Species accumulation curve for social wasps collected in the Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas using observed species richness, within a 95% confidence interval, and estimated species richness (Bootstrap 1).
2.

Composition and similarity of the Polistinae fauna in Cerrado and Caatinga CUs

PCoA and PERMANOVA (Figure 6) showed a statistical difference between the social wasp fauna of the different studies in CUs in northern Minas Gerais and Vale do Jequitinhonha ( p = 0.0001).

Figure 6.
Principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) and Permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) of the social wasp community. The different colors represent the different conservation units in northern Minas Gerais and Vale do Jequitinhonha, Minas Gerais, Brazil. PERMANOVA results are at the top.

We observed a low similarity between the CUs — PNGSV and RVSRP (Refúgio da Vida Silvestre do Rio Pandeiros) were the most similar, with 52.38%. The similarity between the PNGSV and the Parque Nacional das Sempre-Vivas (PNSV) was 31.81%. The lowest similarities were between the PEMS (Parque Estadual da Mata Seca) and the PNGSV (16.66%), and the PEMS and the PNSV (20%). The RVSRP was the most similar CU to the PEMS (23.52%) (Figure 7).

Figure 7.
Cluster analysis between social wasp faunas from different conservation units in northern Minas Gerais and Vale do Jequitinhonha, Minas Gerais. RVSRP = Refúgio da Vida Silvestre do Rio Pandeiros; PNGSV = Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas; PNSV = Parque Nacional das Sempre-Vivas; PEMS = Parque Estadual da Mata Seca.

Discussion

1.

Richness and composition of the social wasp fauna

This richness and composition of the community of the PNGSV is expressive compared to other inventories conducted in the Brazilian Cerrado (Santos et al. 2009SANTOS, G.M.M., CRUZ, J.D., MARQUES, O.M. & GOBBI, N. 2009. Social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) diversity in a cerrado vegetation in Bahia State, Brazil. Neotropical Entomology, 38:317–320. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2009000300003
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X200900...
; Auko et al. 2017AUKO, T.H., CARBONARI, V., RIBEIRO, D.G. & SILVESTRE, R. 2017. Checklist of wasp (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) from Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Iheringia. Série Zoologia, 107:e2017125. https://doi.org/10.1590/1678-4766e2017125
https://doi.org/10.1590/1678-4766e201712...
; De Castro et al. 2021DE CASTRO, L.A., ANDENA, S.R. & ANJOS E SILVA, E.J. 2021. Assemblages of social wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae, Polistinae) in the Veredas of Central Brazil. Sociobiology, 68:e5938. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v68i4.5938
https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v6...
; Oliveira et al. 2022OLIVEIRA, N.S., FERREIRA, J.V.A., SILVA, R.J., SOMAVILLA, A., VOLFF, C.E.P., PEREIRA, M.J.B., SILVA, D. J., BUTNARIU, A.R. & STORCK-TONON, D. 2022. The importance of legal reserve for predator social wasp diversity in an agroecosystem in the Brazilian Cerrado. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, 57:01–10. https://doi.org/10.1080/01650521.2022.2147045
https://doi.org/10.1080/01650521.2022.21...
). The occurrence of 41 species is possibly due to the sum of different biotic, abiotic, and methodological factors.

The PNGSV has several phytophysiognomies, such as Campo Limpo, Cerradão, gallery forests and veredas (Neto et al. 2001NETO, A.S., BRITES, R.S., SOARES, V.P. & RIBEIRO, J.C. 2001. Subsídios para Elaboração do Plano de Manejo do Parque Grande Sertão Veredas por meio de um Sistema de Informações Geográficas. Sessão Técnica Oral, Anais X SBSR, INPE, Foz Iguaçu, p. 493–502.), which provides greater diversity of ecological niches for social wasps (Santos et al. 2007SANTOS, G.M.M., BICHARA, F.C.C., RESENDE, J.J., CRUZ, J.D.D. & MARQUES, O.M. 2007. Diversity and community structure of social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in three ecosystems in itaparica island, Bahia State, Brazil. Neotropical Entomology, 36:180–185. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2007000200002
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X200700...
), since each phytophysiognomy it forms a distinct environment, with different communities of social wasps (Diniz & Kitawama (1994DINIZ, I.R. & KITAYAMA, K. 1994. Colony densities and preferences for nest habitats of some social wasps in Mato Grosso State, Brazil (Hymenoptera Vespidae). Journal of Hymenoptera Research, 3:133–143., 1998DINIZ, I.R. & KITAYAMA, K. 1998. Seasonality of vespid species (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in a central Brazilian cerrado. Revista de Biologia Tropical, 46:109–114.). Added to this are three other factors; first, the conservation status of the area (Graça & Somavilla 2018GRAÇA, M.B. & SOMAVILLA, A. 2018. Effects of forest fragmentation on community patterns of social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in Central Amazon. Austral Entomology, 58(3):657–665. https://doi.org/10.1111/aen.12380
https://doi.org/10.1111/aen.12380...
), which may favor species with restricted environments, since there are species that better explore more conserved environments, with lower anthropic pressure, and those in environments with greater anthropic pressure (Souza et al. 2010SOUZA, M.M., LOUZADA, J., SERRÃO, J.E. & ZANUNCIO, J.C. 2010. Social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) as indicators of conservation degree of riparian forests in southeast Brazil. Sociobiology, 56:1–10.); second, the mosaic of environments in different stages of ecological succession, which favors greater plant diversity, which provides different substrates for nesting and a greater supply of food (Lawton, 1983LAWTON, J.H. 1983. Plant architecture and the diversity of phytophagous insects. Annual Review of Entomology, 28:23–39.; Santos et al. 2007SANTOS, G.M.M., BICHARA, F.C.C., RESENDE, J.J., CRUZ, J.D.D. & MARQUES, O.M. 2007. Diversity and community structure of social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in three ecosystems in itaparica island, Bahia State, Brazil. Neotropical Entomology, 36:180–185. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2007000200002
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X200700...
; Souza et al. 2010SOUZA, M.M., LOUZADA, J., SERRÃO, J.E. & ZANUNCIO, J.C. 2010. Social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) as indicators of conservation degree of riparian forests in southeast Brazil. Sociobiology, 56:1–10.); third, the availability of water (Henriques et al. 1992HENRIQUES, R.P.B., ROCHA, I.R.D. & KYTAYAMA, K. 1992. Nest density of some wasp species in Cerrado vegetation of Central Brazil. Entomologia Generalis, 17:265–268. https://doi.org/10.1127/entom.gen/17/1992/265
https://doi.org/10.1127/entom.gen/17/199...
), present all year round, ensured by the Veredas (Ribeiro & Walter 2008RIBEIRO, J.F. & WALTER, B.M.T. 2008. As principais fitofisionomias do bioma cerrado. In: SANO, S.M., ALMEIDA, S.P. & RIBEIRO, J.F. (Eds.), Cerrado: ecologia e flora. Embrapa-Cerrados: Brasília, p. 151–199.).

In addition to biotic and abiotic factors, the use of two collection methodologies (active search and attractive traps) increases the sampling effort, and the consortium of methodologies is the best way to record the species richness of an area, as the more methods applied, the greater the chances of capturing the largest number of species possible (Barbosa et al. 2020BARBOSA, B.C., MACIEL, T.T. & PREZOTO, F. 2020. Efficiency of social wasp sampling methods. Brazilian Journal of Development, 6(10):83225–83236. https://doi.org/10.34117/bjdv6n10-670
https://doi.org/10.34117/bjdv6n10-670...
).

Besides the number of species recorded, which highlights the importance of the PNGSV, the presence of the species M. campestris, which until then had only been recorded in a Cerrado area in the Federal District (Raw 2016RAW, A. 2016. New records of social wasps around Brasília (Hymenoptera: Vespidae: Polistinae). Sociobiology, 63:1073–1075. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v63i4.1360
https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v6...
), reinforces the role of the CU in the conservation of the Cerrado Polistinae fauna. However, its occurrence reported in this study may represent a possible restriction of the species to this biome, requiring further study.

2.

Composition and similarity of the Polistinae fauna in Cerrado and Caatinga CUs

Although the works in the different UCs have used similar methodologies, mainly due to the use of the active search method, considered more effective for sampling social wasps by different authors (Souza & Prezoto 2006SOUZA, M.M. & PREZOTO, F. 2006. Diversity of social wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) in semideciduous forest and cerrado (savanna) regions in Brazil. Sociobiology, 47(1):135–147.; Silva & Silveira 2009;SILVA, S.S. & SILVEIRA, O.T. 2009. Social wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae, Polistinae) of an Amazonian “terra firme” rain forest in Caxiuanã, Melgaço, PA, Brazil. Iheringia, Série Zoologia, 99(3):317–323. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0073-47212009000300015
https://doi.org/10.1590/S0073-4721200900...
Jacques et al. 2018JACQUES, G.C., PIRES, E.P., HERMES, M.G., FARIA, L.D.B., SOUZA, M.M. & SILVEIRA, L.C.P. 2018. Evaluating the efficiency of different sampling methods to survey social wasps (Vespidae: Polistinae) in an anthropized environment. Sociobiology, 65(3):515–523. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v65i3.2849
https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v6...
), we cannot rule out that the collection methodology of each work may have some influence on the composition of the communities of each UC, however, the low similarity between communities indicates that it is a result of the biological diversity and unique environmental characteristics of each protected area. Different social wasp communities play specific ecological roles in ecosystems, in which some species may be more efficient in controlling certain insect populations (Southon et al. 2019SOUTHON, R.J., FERNANDES, O.A., NASCIMENTO, F.S. & SUMNER, S. 2019. Social wasps are effective biocontrol agents of key lepidopteran crop pests. Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Science, 286:1–8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.1676
https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.1676...
; Pinheiro et al. 2023PINHEIRO, R.A., COSTA, D.A., SOUZA, P.G.C., CABRAL, M.J.S., GIORDANI, S.C.O., ZANUNCIO, J.C., SERRÃO, J.E., SOUZA, M.M. & SOARES, M.A. 2023. Polistes satan (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) predating Dione juno juno (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Brazilian Journal of Biology, 83:1–4. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1519-6984.265293
https://doi.org/10.1590/1519-6984.265293...
), while others may have specific interactions with plants or other organisms (Clemente et al. 2012CLEMENTE, M.A., LANGE, D., DEL-CLARO, K., PREZOTO, F., CAMPOS, N.R. & BARBOSA, B.C. 2012. Flower-visiting social wasps and plants interaction: network pattern and environmental complexity. Psique: Uma Revista de Entomologia, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/478431
https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/478431...
; Barbosa et al. 2021BARBOSA, B.C., MACIEL, T.T., SOMAVILLA, A. & PREZOTO, F. 2021. Interactions between wasps and other Animals: Associations and natural enemies. In: PREZOTO, F., NASCIMENTO, F.S., BARBOSA, B.C. & SOMAVILLA, A. (Eds.). Neotropical Social Wasps. 1ed.: Springer International Publishing, p. 395–403.). Therefore, conserving the diversity of social wasp communities directly affects the maintenance of the ecological balance of the ecosystems where they are located.

Social wasps have a close relationship with different habitats, adapting and interacting in specific ways with each of them (Santos et al. 2007SANTOS, G.M.M., BICHARA, F.C.C., RESENDE, J.J., CRUZ, J.D.D. & MARQUES, O.M. 2007. Diversity and community structure of social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in three ecosystems in itaparica island, Bahia State, Brazil. Neotropical Entomology, 36:180–185. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2007000200002
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X200700...
). Their interactions with the environment include choosing nest sites, searching for food resources, and defending their territory (Resende et al. 2001RESENDE, J.J., SANTOS, G.M.M., BICHARA-FILHO, C.C. & GIMENES, M. 2001. Atividade diária de busca de recursos pela vespa social Polybia occidentalis occidentalis (Olivier, 1791) (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Revista Brasileira de Zoociências, 3(1):105–115.; Brito et al. 2018BRITO, E.L.S., ARAGÃO, M. & SANTOS, G.M.M. 2018. Comportamento defensivo da colônia pela vespa fundadora do enxame Parachartergus pseudoapicalis: aumento no investimento prediz a intensidade da defesa do ninho. Insectes Sociaux, 65:411–417. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00040-018-0627-6
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00040-018-0627-...
; Ferreira et al. 2022FERREIRA, E.D.F., OLIVEIRA, M.T., TEOFILO-GUEDES, G.S. & SOUZA, M.M. 2022. Nidificação de Parachartergus pseudapicalis Willink em substrato vegetal (Hymenoptera, Polistinae). Entomology Beginners, 3:e030. https://doi.org/10.12741/2675-9276.v3.e030
https://doi.org/10.12741/2675-9276.v3.e0...
). Besides the different communities in each CU, the presence of 12 unique species in the PNGSV, eight in the PNSV, seven in the RVSRP, and one in the PEMS (Table 1) also reinforces this reality.

PNGSV and RVSRP, although close (109 km), have different phytophysiognomies. The RVSRP has a predominance of Cerrado, including the presence of veredas, which justifies a greater similarity with the PNGSV, but with traces of Caatinga, such as a dense seasonal deciduous forest or dry forest, open arboreal Caatinga, and carrasco (IEF 2022IEF. 2022. Instituto Estadual de Florestas de Minas Gerais. APA Pandeiros. Available in: http//www.ief.mg.gov.br. Accessed on: 10/May/2023.). This shows the unique environmental characteristics of each protected area and consequently a biological diversity.

The similarity between PNGSV and PNSV is possibly linked to a greater geographic distance between the analyzed units (390 km). Moreover, the PNGSV covers an area ranging from about 600 to 900 m above sea level, with an average annual temperature of 23°C (FUNATURA 2003FUNATURA (Fundação Pró-Natureza). 2003. Plano de Manejo do Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas. Brasília, p. 428.). In turn, the PNSV is located in the Serra do Espinhaço and has a more pronounced altimetric variation, with a predominance of altitudes of 1,100 to 1,250 m, the presence of campos rupestres, which are absent in the PNGSV, and a milder temperature, with an annual average of 19°C (MMA/ICMBio 2016MMA/ICMBio. 2016. Plano de Manejo – Parque Nacional das Sempre-Vivas. Ministério do Meio Ambiente. p. 222.). Several insect species are restricted to high altitudes due to increased climatic severity, reduced area, resources, and primary productivity, absence or reduction of morphophysiological adaptive traits, and even geographic isolation (Janzen 1973JANZEN, D.H. 1973. Sweep samples of tropical foliage insects: effects of seasons, vegetation types, elevations, time of day, and insularity. Ecology Press, 54(3):687–708. https://doi.org/10.2307/1935359
https://doi.org/10.2307/1935359...
; Lawton et al. 1987LAWTON, J.H., MACGARVIN, M. & HEADS, P.A. 1987. Effects of altitude on the abundance and species richness of insect herbivores on bracken. Journal of Animal Ecology, 56:147–160. https://doi.org/10.2307/4805
https://doi.org/10.2307/4805...
; Fernandes 2016FERNANDES, G.W. 2016. Ecology and conservation of mountaintop grasslands in Brazil. Switzerland, Springer. 567p.). This also occurs with social wasps (Souza et al. 2015SOUZA, M.M., SILVA, H.N.M., DALLO, J.B., MARTINS, L.F., MILANI, L.R. & CLEMENTE, M.A. 2015. Biodiversity of Social Wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) at Altitudes Above 1600 Meters in the Parque Estadual da Serra do Papagaio, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. EntomoBrasilis. 8:174–179. https://doi.org/10.12741/ebrasilis.v8i3.519.
https://doi.org/10.12741/ebrasilis.v8i3....
; Oliveira et al. 2021OLIVEIRA, G.C.D.S., HENRIQUES, N.R., CLEMENTE, M.A. & SOUZA, M.M. 2021. Conservation Units as a protection tool for social wasps in Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia, 61:e20216125. http://doi.org/10.11606/1807-0205/2021.61.25
https://doi.org/10.11606/1807-0205/2021....
), since their flight usually requires their body temperature to be higher than that of the environment (Hozumi et al. 2010HOZUMI, S., MATEUS, S., KUDÔ, K., KUWAHARA, T., YAMANE, S. & ZUCCHI, R. 2010. Nest thermoregulation in Polybia scutellaris (White) (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Neotropical Entomology, 39:826–828. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2010000500024
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X201000...
).

The lowest similarities between PEMS and PNGSV and PEMS and PNSV was expected, as PEMS is located in an area of Caatinga domain, while PNGSV and PNSV are in Cerrado areas. The RVSRP was the most similar CU to the PEMS, since, besides their proximity (109 km), the RVSRP, as aforementioned, has a predominance of Cerrado, but with traces of Caatinga, including a dry forest, just like the PEMS. The dry forest, a deciduous forest, has two well-defined climatic seasons: one rainy followed by another with a long dry period. Its tree layer is predominantly deciduous, and more than 50% of the trees become leafless in the unfavorable season (Belém et al. 2021BELÉM, R.A., OLIVEIRA, C.V. & VELOSO, M.D.M. 2021. Os fatores edáficos e antropogênicos e suas correlações com as fitofisionomias do Parque Estadual da Mata Seca, Manga/MG. Revista Cerrados, 19:298–329. https://doi.org/10.46551/rc24482692202113%20
https://doi.org/10.46551/rc2448269220211...
). The responses of social wasps to dry periods in deciduous forests are variable. Some species of Epiponini, due to their ability to store resources in their nests, such as proteins and carbohydrates (Ihering 1896IHERING, H. 1896. Von. E’etat das guêpes sociales du Brésil. Bulletin de la Société zoologique de France, 21:159–162.; Machado & Parra 1984MACHADO, V.L.L. & PARRA, J.R.P. 1984. Capacidade de retorno ao ninho de operárias de Polybia (Myraptera) scutellaris (White, 1841) (Hymenoptera:Vespidae). Anais da Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil, 13(1):13–18.), manage to maintain active colonies during the dry season (Jacques et al. 2023JACQUES, G.C., BARBOSA, L.D., GOUVÊA, T.P., SIMÕES, N.A., SILVA, G.T.G.; SILVEIRA, O.T. & SOUZA, M.M. 2023. Influence of dry season on social wasp communities (Hymenoptera: Polistinae) in Deciduous Forest. Sociobiology,70(2):e8361. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v70i2.8361
https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v7...
). In turn, in the subfamily Polistini, some species, such as Polistes versicolor (Olivier, 1791), form aggregations of queens in a state of hibernation during the period of intense drought (Gonzáles et al. 2002), and as soon as the rains start, with a rapid replacement of leaves, the number of colonies increases (Jacques et al. 2023JACQUES, G.C., BARBOSA, L.D., GOUVÊA, T.P., SIMÕES, N.A., SILVA, G.T.G.; SILVEIRA, O.T. & SOUZA, M.M. 2023. Influence of dry season on social wasp communities (Hymenoptera: Polistinae) in Deciduous Forest. Sociobiology,70(2):e8361. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v70i2.8361
https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v7...
), showing an adaptation to the dry season.

The presence of distinct social wasp communities in the Cerrado and Caatinga conservation units analyzed in this study, reinforces and justifies the creation of these fully protected areas, which ensure the conservation of this biological heritage and the environmental services provided by these taxa, besides providing subsidies for the management and sustainable use of the natural resources of these CUs.

Conclusion

The presence of distinct social wasp communities in the Cerrado and Caatinga conservation units analyzed in this study, reinforces and justifies the creation of these fully protected areas, which ensure the conservation of this biological heritage and the environmental services provided by these taxa, besides providing subsidies for the management and sustainable use of the natural resources of these CUs

Acknowledgments

We thank IFMG, Campus Bambuí, and IFSULDEMINAS, Campus Inconfidentes, for the logistics; IFMG, Campus Bambuí, for translating and paying for the publication this article; the employees of the Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas for their collaboration during the collection period; the interns from the field team for helping with data collection; Dr. Orlando Tobias Silveira, from the Museu Emílio Goeldi, Belém, Pará, for the identification of the social wasps; and ICMBio, SISBIO system for granting the collection permits.

Data Availability

The data collected and generated during this study are available in the SpeciesLink at https://specieslink.net/col/CBVS/. The dataset includes social wasps species used in the analysis and can be accessed at https://specieslink.net/search/records/col/430. The authors confirm that all data necessary for reproducing the study findings are available in the designated dataset.

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Edited by

Associate Editor
Gustavo Graciolli

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    08 Dec 2023
  • Date of issue
    2023

History

  • Received
    01 Sept 2023
  • Accepted
    01 Nov 2023
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