Resource abundance and distribution drive bee visitation within developing tropical urban landscapes
Urban landscapes include a mix of biotic and anthropogenic elements that can interact with and influence species occurrence and behaviour. In order to outline the drivers of bee (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) occurrence in tropical urban landscapes, foraging patterns and community characteristics were examined at a common and broadly attractive food resource, Tecoma stans (Bignoniaceae). Bee visitation was monitored at 120 individual resources in three cities from June 2007 to March 2009. Resource characteristics, spatial distribution, and other local and regional landscape variables were assessed and then used to develop descriptive regression models of forager visitation. The results indicated that increased bee abundance and taxon richness consistently correlated with increased floral abundance. Resource distribution was also influential, with more spatially aggregated resources receiving more foragers. Individual bee guilds had differential responses to the variables tested, but the significant impact of increased floral abundance was generally conserved. Smaller bodied bee species responded to floral abundance, resource structure, and proximity to natural habitats, suggesting that size-related dispersal abilities structure occurrence patterns in this guild. Larger bees favoured spatially aggregated resources in addition to increased floral abundance, suggesting an optimization of foraging energetics. The impact of the urban matrix was minimal and was only seen in generalist feeders (African honey bees). The strongly resource-driven foraging dynamics described in this study can be used to inform conservation and management practices in urban landscapes.
urban ecology; foraging; resource characteristics; <i>Tecoma stans</i>; bees (Hymenoptera); Costa Rica
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