The Similar Usage of a Common Key Resource Does Not Determine Similar Responses by Species in A Community of Oil-collecting Bees

Cândida Maria Lima Aguiar, Shantala Lua, Maise Silva, Paulo Enrique Cardoso Peixoto, Heiddy M Alvarez, Gilberto Marcos de Mendonça Santos


Variations in abundance and species richness among communities are often determined by interactions between biotic and abiotic factors. However, for communities composed of species that share a common specialization (such as similar foraging adaptations) it may be a key ecological factor involved in the common specialization that affects community variations. To evaluate this possibility, we characterized the guild of oil-collecting bees of a Neotropical savanna in Brazil and tested whether differences in Byrsonima abundance and availability of floral oil explain differences in species richness and abundance of oil-collecting bees of different tribes. Both the number of species and total abundance of Centridini species increased with the abundance of Byrsonima. One plausible explanation for the stronger adjustment between the abundance of Centridini and Byrsonima is that the abundance of these plants affects not only the availability of floral oil, but also of pollen. These findings indicate that the existence of a common specialization among different species does not homogenize their response to variations in a common explored resource.

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