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Bee diversity in naturalizing patches of Carolinian grasslands in southern Ontario, Canada

  • M.H. Richards (a1), A. Rutgers-Kelly (a1), J. Gibbs (a2), J.L. Vickruck (a1), S.M. Rehan (a1) and C.S. Sheffield (a2)...


The bee fauna (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of the Niagara Peninsula, at the eastern end of the Carolinian Zone in Ontario, Canada, is poorly known. From April to October 2003, we studied bee abundance and diversity in set-aside grasslands at Brock University and the Glenridge Quarry Naturalization Site in southern St. Catharines, Ontario. Using three sampling methods (pan traps, sweep nets, and aerial nets), we collected and identified 15 733 specimens of 124 species and morphospecies representing all bee families, except Melittidae, found in North America. Abundance-based diversity estimators suggested bee species richness to be as high as 148 species. There were three seasonal peaks in bee abundance (early spring, late spring, and mid-summer) with a lull in activity shortly after the summer solstice. Several indicators suggested substantial impacts of disturbance on the Niagara bee community, including evidence of high dominance by the most abundant species. Comparison of the sampling methods indicated considerable catch variation among taxa; Halictidae and Apidae were dominant in pan trap samples and in sweep–aerial net samples, respectively. However, bee abundances in pan traps and sweep nets were highly correlated, suggesting that both methods fairly sample local bee abundances.

La faune d'abeilles (Hymenoptera : Apoidea) de la péninsule de Niagara, à la bordure est de la zone carolinienne en Ontario, Canada, est mal connue. D'avril à octobre 2003, nous avons étudié l'abondance et la diversité des abeilles dans des prairies réservées à l'université Brock et le site de naturalisation Glenridge Quarry dans le sud de St. Catherines, Ontario. Nous avons récolté à l'aide de trois méthodes d'échantillonnage (pièges à cuvette, filets fauchoirs, filets aériens) et identifié 15 733 spécimens appartenant à 124 espèces et morpho-espèces, représentant toutes les familles d'abeilles retrouvées en Amérique du Nord, à l'exception des Melittidae. Des estimateurs de la diversité basés sur l'abondance font penser que la richesse spécifique des abeilles pourrait atteindre 148 espèces. Il y a trois pics saisonniers d'abondance (début du printemps, fin du printemps et milieu de l'été) avec une accalmie dans l'activité après le solstice d'été. Plusieurs indicateurs laissent croire à des impacts sérieux des perturbations sur la communauté d'abeilles de Niagara, en particulier la forte dominance des espèces les plus abondantes. Une comparaison des méthodes d'échantillonnage indique une variation considérable des récoltes en fonction des taxons; les Halictidae et les Apidae dominent respectivement dans les récoltes dans les pièges à cuvette et aux filets fauchoirs–aériens. Il existe cependant une forte corrélation entre les abondances d'abeilles dans les cuvettes et les filets fauchoirs, ce qui indique que les deux méthodes échantillonnent adéquatement les abondances locales d'abeilles.

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