Biodiversity Science ›› 2007, Vol. 15 ›› Issue (6): 666-672.doi: 10.1360/biodiv.070177

Special Issue: Studies on Plant–Pollinator Interaction

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Insect visitors and their behaviors in the typical herbaceous plant com-munities of the Shennongjia Mountains

Wei Du, Hongxia Wang, Xiaofan Wang*   

  1. College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072
  • Online:2007-11-20

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 ap-peared 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 fre-quencies 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 back-ground of the plant populations in studies of plant–pollinator interactions.

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