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Insect visitors and their behaviors in the typical herbaceous plant communities of the Shennongjia Mountains

Author(s): Wei Du | Hongxia Wang | Xiaofan Wang

Journal: Biodiversity Science
ISSN 1005-0094

Volume: 15;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 666;
Date: 2007;

Keywords: Shennongjia | herbaceous community | insect visitor behavior | visiting frequency

Insect visitation was preliminarily monitored in some typical herbaceous plant communities at different altitudes (1,000–2,600 m) in the Shennongjia Mountains, Hubei Province, China. In the nine quadrats studied, insects in eleven families of Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera and Diptera were observed to be floral visitors. The taxa of insect visitors were visibly associated with the community composition. Observing the behavior of floral visitors, we found that the total visitation frequency and the frequency of visits of each kind of insect both differed in communities with different plant species, and that more insect species appeared in communities with more plant species in bloom. Visitation frequencies to some plant species were significantly different when they occurred in different communities. For example, no insects were observed to visit Rumex acetosa flowers, with an indistinctive perianth, in some communities, but high visitation frequencies were observed in others. Geranium henryi, featuring an obvious perianth, was visited by insects in every community. On the other hand, some plants, such as Vicia cracca, were always visited by insects, but the taxa of visitors were different in each community. Our results suggest that different plants contributed to various roles in attracting pollinators within communities, and one should consider the community background of the plant populations in studies of plant–pollinator interactions.
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