Flower-visiting social wasps and plants interaction: Network pattern and environmental complexity

Psyche: A Journal of Entomology 2012:10 (2012)
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Network analysis as a tool for ecological interactions studies has been widely used since last decade. However, there are few studies on the factors that shape network patterns in communities. In this sense, we compared the topological properties of the interaction network between flower-visiting social wasps and plants in two distinct phytophysiognomies in a Brazilian savanna (Riparian Forest and Rocky Grassland). Results showed that the landscapes differed in species richness and composition, and also the interaction networks between wasps and plants had different patterns. The network was more complex in the Riparian Forest, with a larger number of species and individuals and a greater amount of connections between them. The network specialization degree was more generalist in the Riparian Forest than in the Rocky Grassland. This result was corroborated by means of the nestedness index. In both networks was found asymmetry, with a large number of wasps per plant species. In general aspects, most wasps had low niche amplitude, visiting from one to three plant species. Our results suggest that differences in structural complexity of the environment directly influence the structure of the interaction network between flower-visiting social wasps and plants.

Author's Profile

Bruno Barbosa
Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora


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