1. The temporal dynamics of plant phenology and pollinator abundance across seasons should influence the structure of plant-pollinator interaction networks.Nevertheless, such dynamics are seldom considered, especially for diverse tropical networks.2. Here, we evaluated the temporal variation of four plant-pollinator networks in two seasonal ecosystems in Central Brazil (Cerrado and Pantanal). Data were gathered on a monthly basis over 1 year for each network. We characterized seasonal and temporal shifts in plant-pollinator interactions, using temporally discrete networks. We predicted that the greater floral availability in the rainy season would allow for finer partitioning of the floral niche by the pollinators, i.e. higher specialization patterns as previously described across large spatial gradients.Finally, we also evaluated how sampling restricted to peak flowering period may affect the characterization of the networks.3. Contrary to our expectations, we found that dry season networks, although characterized by lower floral resource richness and abundance, showed higher levels of network-wide interaction partitioning (complementary specialization and modularity). For nestedness, though, this between-seasons difference was not consistent. Reduced resource availability in the dry season may promote higher interspecific competition among pollinators leading to reduced niche overlap, thus explaining the increase in specialization. There were no consistent differences between seasons in species-level indices,indicating that higher network level specialization is an emergent property only seen when considering the entire network. However, bees presented higher values of specialization and species strength in relation to other groups such as flies and wasps, suggesting that some plant species frequently associated with bees are used only by this group.5. Our study also indicates that targeted data collection during peak flowering generates higher estimates of network specialization, possibly because species activity spans longer periods than the targeted time frame. Hence, depending on the period of data collection, different structural values for the networks of interactions may be found.6. Synthesis. Plant-pollinator networks from tropical environments have structural properties that vary according to seasons, which should be taken into account in the description of the complex systems of interactions between plants and their pollinators in these areas. K E Y W O R D SCerrado, functional diversity, modularity, nestedness, network sampling, Pantanal, resource availability, seasonality | 2411Journal of Ecology SOUZA et Al.
Differences in species richness and species composition of spiders associated with aquatic macrophytes of different structural complexities were examined in the Pantanal floodplain of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. The plants studied were Nymphaea amazonum (Nymphaeaceae), Salvinia auriculata (Salviniaceae), Echinodorus paniculatus (Alismataceae) and Eichhornia azurea (Pontederiaceae), whose classes of complexity were determined based on their leaf and branch densities, vertical structure, and height. Data were collected from 62 monospecific plant patches in temporary lentic environments. A total of 235 spiders of 33 species in 13 families was collected. Nymphaea amazonum, the plant with the lowest complexity class, did not provide adequate sites for the establishment of spiders, and only four individuals of four spider species were found on its patches. Salvinia auriculata and E. paniculatus shared the intermediate class of complexity, but showed statistically significant differences in composition and richness of spider species. In E. paniculatus, greater height and lower leaf and branch densities favored the establishment of web weavers, whereas the smaller height and higher density of S. auriculata promoted the occurrence of wandering spiders. Eichhornia azurea, the plant with the highest complexity class, presented the greatest number of unique spider species, differing from the other plants in spider species composition. Results indicate that richness and composition of spider species associated with aquatic macrophytes in the study site are influenced by the structural complexity of these plants.
To understand the geographic distribution of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul (MS), Brazil, both the climatic niches of Lutzomyia longipalpis and VL cases were analysed. Distributional data were obtained from 55 of the 79 counties of MS between 2003-2012. Ecological niche models (ENM) of Lu. longipalpis and VL cases were produced using the maximum entropy algorithm based on eight climatic variables. Lu. longipalpis showed a wide distribution in MS. The highest climatic suitability for Lu. longipalpis was observed in southern MS. Temperature seasonality and annual mean precipitation were the variables that most influenced these models. Two areas of high climatic suitability for the occurrence of VL cases were predicted: one near Aquidauana and another encompassing several municipalities in the southeast region of MS. As expected, a large overlap between the models for Lu. longipalpis and VL cases was detected. Northern and northwestern areas of MS were suitable for the occurrence of cases, but did not show high climatic suitability for Lu. longipalpis . ENM of vectors and human cases provided a greater understanding of the geographic distribution of VL in MS, which can be applied to the development of future surveillance strategies.
The division of labor between castes and the division of labor in workers according to age (temporal polyethism) in social wasps are crucial for maintaining social organization. This study evaluated the division of labor between castes, and the temporal polyethism in workers of Mischocyttarus consimilis Zikán (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). To describe the behavioral repertory of this species, observations were made of 21 colonies, with 100 hours of observations. In order to observe temporal polyethism, each newly emerged wasp was marked with colored dots on the upper area of the thorax. This allowed the observation of behavioral acts performed by each worker from the time of emergence to its death. Through hybrid multidimensional scaling, a clear division between queens and workers could be identified, in which the behaviors of physical dominance and food solicitation characterized the queen caste; while behaviors such as adult—adult trophallaxis, destruction of cells, alarm, foraging for prey, foraging for nectar, and unsuccessful foraging characterized the worker caste. Hybrid multidimensional scaling characterized two groups, with intra—nest activities preferentially accomplished by younger workers, while extra—nest activities such as foraging were executed more frequently by older workers.
This study updates the geographic distributions of phlebotomine species in Central-West Brazil and analyses the climatic factors associated with their occurrence. The data were obtained from the entomology services of the state departments of health in Central-West Brazil, scientific collections and a literature review of articles from 1962-2014. Ecological niche models were produced for sandfly species with more than 20 occurrences using the Maxent algorithm and eight climate variables. In all, 2,803 phlebotomine records for 127 species were analysed. Nyssomyia whitmani, Evandromyia lenti and Lutzomyia longipalpis were the species with the greatest number of records and were present in all the biomes in Central-West Brazil. The models, which were produced for 34 species, indicated that the Cerrado areas in the central and western regions of Central-West Brazil were climatically more suitable to sandflies. The variables with the greatest influence on the models were the temperature in the coldest months and the temperature seasonality. The results show that phlebotomine species in Central-West Brazil have different geographical distribution patterns and that climate conditions in essentially the entire region favour the occurrence of at least one Leishmania vector species, highlighting the need to maintain or intensify vector control and surveillance strategies.
Based on evidence that ants are population regulatory agents, we examined their efficiency in predation of fruit fly larvae Anastrepha Schiner, 1868 (Diptera: Tephritidae). Hence, we considered the differences among species of fruit trees, the degree of soil compaction, and the content of soil moisture as variables that would explain predation by ants because these variables affect burying time of larvae. We carried out the experiment in an orchard containing various fruit bearing trees, of which the guava (Psidium guajava Linn.), jaboticaba (Myrciaria jaboticaba (Vell.) Berg.), and mango trees (Mangifera indica Linn.) were chosen for observations of Anastrepha. We offered live Anastrepha larvae on soil beneath the tree crowns. We observed for 10 min whether ants removed the larvae or the larvae buried themselves. Eight ant species were responsible for removing 1/4 of the larvae offered. The Pheidole Westwood, 1839 ants were the most efficient genus, removing 93% of the larvae. In compacted and dry soils, the rate of predation by ants was greater. Therefore, this study showed that ants, along with specific soil characteristics, may be important regulators of fruit fly populations and contribute to natural pest control in orchards.
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