Social Wasp-Flower Visiting Guild Interactions in Less Structurally Complex Habitats are More Susceptible to Local Extinction


  • Mateus Aparecido Clemente Universidade Estadual de São Paulo (UNESP) - Rio Claro
  • Denise Lange Universidade Federal de Uberlândia
  • Wesley Dáttilo Universidad Veracruzana
  • Kleber Del-Claro Universidade Federal de Uberlândia
  • Fábio Prezoto Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora



ecological networks, flower-visiting, species loss, habitat complexity, robustness


Several studies have shown that habitat complexity is an important factor for the dynamic and stability of interacting species. However, it is not known how the habitat complexity may affect the tolerance of wasp-flower interactions to local extinction. Based on this perspective, in this study, we aimed to compare the tolerance of wasp flower visiting guild to local extinction in two different types of vegetation (Riparian Forest and Rocky Grassland). Through observations made during one year, we verified that the structure of the plant-wasp interaction network differed between the two areas, as well as that the robustness to cumulative extinctions had different patterns.  The simulations of cumulative removal of species showed that the network in the Riparian Forest is more robust against the removal of both plants and wasps than that network in Rocky Grassland, since their extinction curves declined more slowly. Therefore, in our study area, we demonstrate that social wasp-plant interactions in areas with lower structural complexity are less tolerant to extinction (i.e. more fragile). We therefore suggest that studies that aim at biodiversity conservation should focus not only in areas where diversity is high, but also in area with lower species richness for the conservation of ecological roles within communities.


Aguiar, C.M.L. & Santos, G.M.M. (2007). Compartilhamento de recursos florais por vespas sociais (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) e abelhas (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) em uma área de Caatinga. Neotrop. Entomol., 36: 836-842.

Bastolla, U., Fortuna M.A., Pascual-Garcia, A., Ferrera, A., Luque, B. & Bascompte, J. (2009). The architecture of mutualistic networks minimizes competition and increases biodiversity. Nature, 458: 1018-1091. doi: 10.1038/nature07950.

Blüthgen, N. & Klein, A.M. (2011). Functional complementarity and specialization: Why biodiversity is important in plant-pollinator interactions. Basic Appl. Ecol., 12(4): 282-291. doi: 10.1016/j.baae.2010.11.001.

Burgos, E., Ceva, H., Perazzo, R.P.J., Devoto, M., Medan, D., Zimmermann, M. & Delbue, A.M. (2007). Why nestedness in mutualistic networks? J. Theor. Biol., 249: 307-313.

Byk, J. & Del-Claro, K. (2011). Ant-plant interaction in the Neotropical Savanna: direct beneficial effects of extrafloral nectar on ant colony fitness. Popul. Ecol., 53: 327-332. doi: 10.1007/s10144-010-0240-7.

Carvalho, D.M., Aguiar, C.M.L. & Santos, G.M.M. (2013). Partitioning of floral resources by carpenter bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Xylocopini) in an agricultural system. Sociobiology, 60: 285-290. doi: 10.13102/sociobiology.v60i3.283-288

Clemente, 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. Psyche, 2012: 1-10. doi: 10.1155/2012/478431.

Cruz, J.D., Giannotti, E., Santos, G.M.M., Bichara Filho, C.C. & Rocha, A.A. (2006). Nest site selection and flying capa-city of netropical wasp Angiopolybia pallens (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in the Atlantic Rain Forest, Bahia State, Brazil. Sociobiology, 47: 739-749.

Dáttilo, W. (2012). Different tolerances of symbiotic and nonsymbiotic ant-plant networks to species extinctions. Network Biology, 2(4): 127-138.

Dáttilo, W., Rico-Gray, V., Rodrigues, D.J. & Izzo, T.J. (2013a). Soil and vegetation features determine the nested pattern in ant–plant networks in a tropical rainforest. Ecol. Entomol., 38: 374-380.

Dáttilo, W., Guimarães, P.R. & Izzo, T.J. (2013b). Spatial structure of ant-plant mutualistic networks. Oikos, in press. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00562.x.

Del-Claro, K. & Torezan-Silingardi, H.M. (2009). Insect-Plant Interactions: new pathways to a better comprehension of ecological communities in neotropical savannas. Neotrop. Entomol., 38: 159-164.

Del-Claro, K., Stefani, V., Lange, D., Vilela, A.A., Nahas, L., Velasques, M. & Torezan-Silingardi, H.M. (2013). The importance of natural history studies for a better comprehension of animal-plant interactions networks. Biosci. J., 29: 439-448.

De Souza, A.R., Venâncio, D. & Prezoto, F. (2010). Social wasps damaging fruit of Myrciaria sp. Sociobiology, 55: 297-299.

Durigan, G., Rodrigues, R.R. & Schiavini, I. (2000). A heterogeneidade ambiental definindo a metodologia de amostragem da floresta ciliar. In R.R. Rodrigues & H.F. Leitão-Filho (Eds.), Matas Ciliares: conservação e recuperação (pp. 159-167). São Paulo: EDUSP.

Dyer, L.A., Walla, T.R., Greeney, H.F., Stireman, J.O., Hazen, R.F. (2010). Diversity of Interactions: a metric for studies of biodiversity. Biotropica, 42: 281-289. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2009.00624.x.

Elpino-Campos, A., Del-Claro, K. & Prezoto, F. (2007). Diversity of social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in Cerrado fragments of Uberlândia, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Neotrop. Entomol., 36: 685-692.

Faegri, K. & Van der Pijl, L. (1979). The principles of pollination ecology. Pegamon: Oxford, UK.

Fontes, M.A.L. (1997). “Análise da composição florística das florestas nebulares do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca, Minas Gerais”, Dissertação de Mestrado. Universidade Federal de Lavras, MG, Brasil.

Gess, F.W. & Gess, S.K. (1993). Ethelogical studies of Jugurtia confusa Richards, Ceramius capicula Brauns, C. linearis Klug and C. lichtensteinii (Klug) (Hymenoptera: Masarinae) in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Ann. Cape Prov. Mus. (Natural History), 13: 63-83.

Giulietti, A.M., Pirani, J.R. & Harley, R.M. (1997). Espinhaço Range Region, Eastern Brazil. In S.D. Davis, V.H. Heywood, O. Herrera-MacBryde, J. Villa-Lobos & A.C. Hamilton (Eds.), Centers of plant diversity: A Guide and Strategy for their Conservation (pp. 397-404). Oxford: Information Press.

Harris, R.J., Moller, H. & Winterboum, M.J. (1994). Competition for honeydew between two social wasps in South Island beech forests, New Zealand. Insect. Soc., 41: 379-394.

Heithaus, E.R. (1979a). Community structure of Neotropical flower visiting bees and wasps: Diversity and phenology. Ecology, 60: 190-202.

Heithaus, E.R. (1979b). Flower-feeding specialization in wild bee and wasp communities in seasonal Neotropical habitats. Oecologia, 42: 179-194.

Henriques, R.P.B., Rocha, I.R.D. & Kitayama, K. (1992). Nest Density of some social wasp species in Cerrado vegetation of Central Brazil (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Entomol.Gener., 17: 265-268.

Hernandes, J.L., Pedro-Junior, M.J. & Bardin, L. (2004). Variação estacional da radiação solar em ambiente externo e no interior de floresta semidecídua. Revista Árvore, 28: 167-172.

Hernández-Yáñez, H., Lara-Rodríguez, N., Díaz-Castelazo, C., Dáttilo, W. & Rico-Gray, V. (2013). Understanding the Complex Structure of a Plant-Floral Visitor Network from Different Perspectives in Coastal Veracruz, Mexico. Sociobiology, 60: 331-338. doi:10.13102/sociobiology.v60i3.329-336.

Hunt, J.H., Bown, P.A., Sago, K.M. & Kerker, J.A. (1991). Vespid Wasps eat pollen (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). J. Kansas Entomol. Soc., 64: 127-130.

Johnson, S.D. & Steiner, K.E. (2000). Generalization versus specialization in plant pollination systems. Trends Ecol. & Evol., 15: 190-193. doi: 10.1016/S0169-5347(99)01811-x.

Lawton, J.H. (1983). Plant architecture and the diversity of phytophagous insects. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 28: 23-39. doi: 10.1146/annurev.en.28.010183.000323

Machado, V.L.L. (1982). Plants which supply “hair” material for nest building of Protopolybia sedula (Saussure, 1984). In P. Jaisson (Ed.), Social insects in tropics (pp. 189-192). Paris: University Paris-Nord.

Markwell, T.J., Kelly, D. & Duncan, K.W. (1993). Competition between honey bees (Apis mellifera) and wasps (Vespula spp.) in honeydew beech (Nothofagus solandri solandri) Forest New Zealand. J. Ecol., 17(2): 85-93.

Marques, O.M. & Carvalho, C.A.L. (1993). Hábitos de nidificação de vespas sociais (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) no município de Cruz das Almas, Estado da Bahia. Insecta, 2: 23-40.

Marques, O.M. (1996). Vespas sociais (Hymenoptera, Vespidae): características e importância em agrossistemas. Insecta, 5(2): 18-39.

Mello, M.A.R., Santos, G.M.M., Mechi, M.R. & Hermes, M.G. (2011). High generalization in flower-visiting networks of social wasps. Acta Oecol., 37: 37-42. doi: 10.1016/j.actao.2010.11.004.

Memmott, J.N., Waser, M. & Price, M.V. (2004). Tolerance of Pollination Networks to Species Extinctions. Proc. R. Soc. London B, 271(1557): 2605–2611. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2004.2909.

Memmott, J., Craze, P.G., Waser, N.M., Price, M.V. (2007). Global warming and the disruption of plant-pollinator interactions. Ecol. Lett., 10: 710-717. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2007.01061.x.

Montoya, J.M., Pimm, S.L. & Solé, R.V. (2006). Ecological networks and their fragility. Nature, 442: 259-264. doi: 10.1038/nature04927.

Myers, N. (1986). The environmental dimension to security issues. The Environmentalist, 6(4): 251-257.

Olesen, J.M. & Jain, S. (1994). Fragmented plant populations and their lost interactions. In V. Loeschcke (Ed.), Conservation Genetics (pp.17–426). Berlin: Birkhauser Verlag.

Rodela, L.G. (1998). Cerrados de altitude e campos rupestres do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca, sudeste de Minas Gerais: distribuição e florística por subfisionomias da vegetação. Revista do Departamento de Geografia, 12: 163-189. doi: 10.7154/RDG.1998.0012.0007.

Sakagami, S.F., Laroca, S. & Moure, J.S. (1967). Wild bee biocenotics in São José dos Pinhais (PR), south Brazil. Preliminary report. Journal of the Faculty of Hokkaido University (Zoology), 16: 253–291.

Santos, G.M.M & Gobbi, N. (1998). Nesting habits and colonial productivity of Polistes canadensis canadensis (L.) (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in a caatinga area, Bahia State-Brazil. J. Adv. Zool., 19: 63-69.

Santos, G.M.M., Silva, S.O.C., Bichara Filho, C.C. & Gobbi, N. (1998). Influencia del tamaño del cuerpo en el forrajeo de avispas sociales (Hymenoptera: Polistinae) visitantes de Syagrus coronata (Martius) (Arecacea). Revista Gayana de Zoologia, 62(2): 167-170.

Santos, G.M.M., Santana-Reis, V.P.G., Resende, J.J., De Marco, P. & Bichara Filho, C.C. (2000). Flying capacity of swarm-founding wasp Polybia occidentalis occidentalis Olivier, 1971 (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Rev. Bras. Zoociências, 2(2): 33-39.

Santos, G.M.M., Aguiar, C.M.L. & Gobbi, N. (2006). Characterization of the social wasp guild (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) visiting flowers in the Caatinga (Itatim, Bahia, Brazil). Sociobiology, 47: 483-494.

Santos, G.M.M., Bichara Filho, C.C., Resende, J.J., Cruz, J.D. & Marques, O.M. (2007). Diversity and community structure of social wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) in three ecosystems in Itaparica Island, Bahia State, Brazil. Neotrop. Entomol., 36: 180-185.

Santos, G.M.M., Aguiar, C.M.L. & Mello, M.A.R. (2010). Flower-visiting guild associated with the Caatinga flora: trophic interaction networks formed by social bees and social wasps with plants. Apidologie, 41: 466-475. doi: 10.1051/apido/2009081.

Shuttleworth, A. & Johnson, S.D. (2006). Specialized pollination by large spider-hunting wasps and self-incompatibility in the African milk weed Pachycarpus asperifolius. Int. J. Plant. Sci., 167: 1177-1186. doi: 10.1086/507685.

Shuttleworth, A. & Johnson, S.D. (2009). The importance of scent and nectar filters in a specialized wasp-pollination system. Funct. Ecol., 23: 931-940. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2009.01573.x.

Silva-Pereira, V. & Santos, G.M.M. (2006). Diversity in bee (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) and social wasp (Hymenoptera: Vespidae, Polistinae) community in campos rupestres, Bahia, Brazil. Neotrop. Entomol., 35: 165-174.

Sinzato, D.M.S., Andrade, F.R., Souza, A.R., Del-Claro, K. & Prezoto, F. (2011). Colony cycle, foundation strategy and nesting biology of a Neotropical paper wasp. Rev. Chil. Hist. Nat., 84: 357-363.

Souza, 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: 387-396.

Sühs, 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. Rev. Bras. Bioc., 7: 138-143.

Tews, J., Brose, U., Grimm, V., Tielbörger, K., Wichmann, M.C., Schwager, M. & Jeltsch, F. (2004). Animal species diversity driven by habitat heterogeneity/diversity: the importance of keystone structures. J. Biogeogr., 31: 79–92.

Thébault, E. & Fontaine, C. (2010). Stability of ecological communities and the architecture of mutualistic and trophic networks. Science, 329: 853–856. doi: 10.1126/science.1188321.

Thompson, J.N. (2013). Relentless Evolution. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Torezan-Silingardi, H.M. (2011). Predatory behavior of Pachodynerus brevithorax (Hymenoptera: Vespidae, Eumeninae) on endophytic herbivore beetles in the Brazilian tropical savanna. Sociobiology, 57:181-190.

Wenzel, J.W. (1991). Evolution of nest architecture. In K.G. Ross & R.W. Matthews (Eds.), The social biology of wasps (pp. 480-519). Ithaca: Cornell University.

Williams, R.J. (2010). Network 3D Software. Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK.

Wilson, E.O. (1988). Biodiversity. Washington: National Academy Press.




How to Cite

Clemente, M. A., Lange, D., Dáttilo, W., Del-Claro, K., & Prezoto, F. (2013). Social Wasp-Flower Visiting Guild Interactions in Less Structurally Complex Habitats are More Susceptible to Local Extinction. Sociobiology, 60(3), 337–344.



Research Article - Wasps

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 > >>