Female and male bees forage for different reasons: females provision nests with pollen appropriate for larval development and consume nectar for energy while males need only fuel their own energetic requirements. The expectation, therefore, is that females should visit fewer floral resource species than males, due to females’ focus on host plant species and their tie to the nest location. We used pollen collected from bees’ bodies and the flowers they were collected on to infer floral resource use in 2010-2012 at Badlands National Park, SD, USA. We collected bees on 24 1-ha plots centered on particular plant species. We compared number of floral species and families (1) associated with individual female and male bees (via generalized linear mixed models) and (2) accumulated by each sex (using rarefaction); and (3) effect of variation between sexes in plant-bee interactions via modularity analyses. Analyses were restricted to bee species with > 5 individuals per sex. Contrary to expectation, female and male bees differed infrequently in the number of floral resources they had visited, both on single foraging bouts and collectively when accumulated across all males and females of a species. When males and females did differ, males visited fewer floral species than females. Generalist and specialist bee species did not differ markedly in floral resource use by females and males. When separated by sex, seven of eleven species occupied different modules than they did when analyzed as a species; most of the bee species were connectors, thus important for stability of the network during perturbations.
|Title||Variation in foraging patterns as reflected by floral resources used by male vs female bees of selected species at Badlands National Park, SD|
|Authors||Diane L. Larson, Zachary M. Portman, Jennifer Larson, Deborah A. Buhl|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Arthropod-Plant Interactions|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center|