Neotropical entomology | 2021
Overlap of Ecological Niche Breadth of Euglossa cordata and Eulaema nigrita (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Euglossini) Accessed by Pollen Loads and Species Distribution Modeling.
Urban areas can serve as biodiversity refuges for pollinators because of the high diversity of available floral and nesting resources. However, it remains unclear what plant species commonly used for urban landscaping provide floral resources that pollinators actively use. Here, we integrate data from the pollen and species distribution models of two abundant euglossine bees-the large-bodied Eulaema nigrita (Lepeletier, 1841) and the small-bodied Euglossa cordata (Linnaeus, 1758)-in urban areas to investigate their overlap in diet breadth and distribution. We hypothesized that because bees with larger body sizes tend to have larger foraging areas, large-bodied bees would have a wider diet breath than small-bodied bees. Contrary to our hypothesis, we found that Eg. cordata has a wider diet breadth than El. nigrita with the former species showing higher diversity of pollen types collected (per pollen load and on average across pollen loads). Pollen grains from Solanum paniculatum and Tradescantia zebrina represented 63% of the diet of Eg. cordata, whereas pollen from S. paniculatum and Psidium guajava represented 87% of the diet of El. nigrita. After overlaying the distribution of both bee species and the three most important pollen resources, the distribution models revealed that these three plant species can co-occur with both euglossine bees throughout a large portion of eastern Brazil near the coast. Thus, we conclude S. paniculatum, T. zebrina, and P. guajava should be considered key plants for the maintenance of these two urban euglossine bee species. The results of this study provide important information for urban landscaping programs that aim to protect and preserve pollinators.