A preliminary early-season flower-visitation web for the Kirindy Forest, Madagascar
Tropical dry deciduous forest is an endangered ecosystem whose plant-pollinator relationships are little known. We characterised a portion of the web of interactions between flowering plants and flower visitors in the Kirindy Forest of the Menabe region of west-central Madagascar. Taking a plant-centered approach, we observed individuals of the 5 most abundant native plant species that were coming into flower at the end of the annual dry season, and recorded all identifiable flower-visitors. Taking a visitor-centered approach, we walked a network of established trails and listened for distinctive calls of a common flower-visiting bird, noting the plant species visited. The former approach revealed connections among the early-flowering species via birds and insects, whereas the latter confirmed these connections and added an additional plant species. Flowers of the 6 plant species were visited on average by 5.5 animal species, while 10 visitor species for which we had reasonable samples frequented on average the flowers of 3.3 plant species. These qualitative results resemble those reported from other temperate and tropical webs, in that interactions appeared to be relatively generalised by pollinator species and body plan (e.g., birds vs. bees). Also in agreement, the visitation web was significantly nested, with more-specialised species tending to interact with mutualistic partners that were themselves more generalised. In addition to documenting previously-unreported interactions, therefore, this preliminary web conforms to more widespread patterns emerging for pollination systems at the community level.
Connectance; Forest; Generalisation; Nestedness; Pollination; Tropical
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