Ecological separation in foraging schedule and food type between pollinators of the California wildflower, Clarkia xantiana ssp. xantiana
The co-occurrence of several dimensions of resource separation between coexisting consumers strengthens the hypothesis that the separation arose from and/or ameliorates interspecific competition. The two most common pollinators of the California endemic plant Clarkia xantiana ssp. xantiana (Onagraceae), the bees Hesperapis regularis (Mellitidae) and Lasioglossum pullilabre (Halictidae), are known to partition flower resources by flower colour. Here we asked whether H. regularis and L. pullilabre also partition flower resources by diurnal foraging schedule and by food type (pollen versus nectar). We also quantified diurnal patterns of nectar availability, expected to be related to foraging schedules and forager responses to flower colour. The diurnal schedules of the two species differed distinctly and significantly. The majority of L. pullilabre foraging visits occurred before midday, while the majority of H. regularis visits occurred afterwards. The two species foraged for alternative food types at significantly different frequencies—nectar and pollen approximately equally frequently for H. regularis, pollen almost exclusively for L. pullilabre. Nectar standing crop declined with time of day, but it did not clearly reflect or explain previously identified colour-morph preferences. The major pollinators of C. xantiana ssp. xantiana exhibit multiple forms of ecological separation that likely reduce the intensity of competition for floral resources.
Pollination; resource partitioning; coexistence; foraging; solitary bees; nectar
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