Zoological Studies

Vol. 59, 2020

(update: 2020.09.10)

Geographical Patterns in the Architecture of Neotropical Flower-visitor Networks of Hummingbirds and Insects

Leuzeny Teixeira Moreira1, Luiz Alberto Dolabela Falcão2, and Walter Santos de Araújo2,*


1Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biodiversidade e Uso dos Recursos Naturais, Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros, Brazil. E-mail: leuzeny@hotmail.com (Moreira)
2Departamento de Biologia Geral, Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros, Montes Claros, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Av. Professor Rui Braga, Vila Mauricéia, Montes Claros, MG, 39401-089, Brazil. *Correspondence: E-mail: walterbioaraujo@gmail.com (de Araújo)
E-mail: luizdolabelafalcao@gmail.com (Falcão)

Received 19 May 2020 / Accepted 16 August 2020
Communicated by Chih-Ming Hung

Geographical variations in environmental factors can affect species diversity and consequently influence the structure of interspecific ecological interactions. Relationships between flowering plants and animal flower visitors are among the most important ecological interactions and can structure and maintain ecological diversity in different environments. Additionally, many animal and plant species participate in these interactions, which shape the specific characteristics of these communities, both in terms of the responses of the interacting species involved and environmental differences. Therefore, in the present study we investigated geographical and environmental effects on the architecture of Neotropical flower-visitor networks of vertebrate and invertebrate animals. To this end, we used data regarding interaction networks available in the literature and constructed binary interaction networks of plants and plant-visitors (hummingbirds and insects) and tested the effects of altitude, latitude, vegetation type and number of plant families on the structure of these networks. In total, we analyzed 55 networks of flower-visitor interactions with 746 species of flower-visiting animals and 1,185 species of plants, totaling 5,463 distinct plant-animal interactions. In general, the architecture of flower-visitor networks varies along latitudinal and altitudinal gradients, with more pronounced effects for flower-insect networks where latitude influenced network size, modularity and nestedness and altitude influenced network size and connectance. Flower-hummingbird networks of open vegetation (grassland) were more modular than networks of other environments. The number of plant families positively influenced network size for insects and hummingbirds, and affected connectance and nestedness positively and modularity negatively in the flower-insect networks. So, the patterns we found indicate that plant-visitor interactions in flower-insect and flower-hummingbird networks are differently affected by geographical and plant-related factors, possibly due to the differences in taxonomic and functional groups involved in these interactions.

Key words: Bees, Ecological services, Plant-animal interactions, Pollination, Tropical ecology.

Citation: Moreira LT, Falcão LAD, de Araújo WS. 2020. Geographical patterns in the architecture of Neotropical flower-visitor networks of hummingbirds and insects. Zool Stud 59:0ii. doi:-.

Supplementary Materials: Table S1 | Table S2