Submitted to: Journal of Kansas Entomological Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2006
Publication Date: 5/1/2006
Citation: Bartholomew, C.S., Prowell, D., Griswold, T.L. 2006. An annotated checklist of bees (hymenoptera: apoidea) in longleaf pine savannas on the western edge of the east gulf coastal plain. Journal of Kansas Entomological Society. 79:184-198
Interpretive Summary: The pollinators of plants in longleaf pine savannas, a threatened habitat in the southeastern United States, are poorly known. This paper records 176 species from this habitat in Louisiana and Mississippi, many of them new records for Louisiana. Plant relationships are provided. Most bee species visit a wide variety of plants but 18% are specialists on particular plants. Some bees are restricted to the upland sandy soils. Information on bee plant relationships can aid in efforts to maintain the unique flora of this habitat.
Technical Abstract: ABSTRACT: Longleaf pine savannas are threatened ecosystems in the southeastern United States. They contain a rich diversity of herbaceous flowering plants, most of which are insect pollinated. Objectives of our research were to catalog the bee fauna to determine potential pollinators and to provide targets for restoration in two savanna types, uplands and wet pine flatwoods. A total of 124 species of bees were collected from four longleaf pine savanna sites in Louisiana. A regional list of 176 species was produced by adding 52 species collected from nearby savannas in Mississippi. The Louisiana survey documented range extensions for 23 species, 67 new state records, and two possible new species. Host plant specificity in savannas was low, only 18% were oligolectic, compared to high bee diversity sites like North American deserts which contain about 60%. Low specificity is likely due to flowering throughout the growing season that provides a shifting but continuous resource. The majority of oligolectic species were specialists on Asteraceae but a few specialized on Callirhoe, Hibiscus, and Ipomoea. The majority of host specific bees (nine of eleven species) were restricted to or biased toward upland sites as opposed to wet pine flatwoods. Sixteen species prefer sandy soils, five of which were significantly biased toward uplands. Upland savannas contained more host/habitat specific and range restricted bees than the wet savanna site. Three species previously reported to be associated with prairies or grasslands were collected at upland sites and are likely candidates for savanna associated species. From a biogeographic perspective, the fauna is eastern or southeastern in its affinity with 68% of the species ranges extending eastward. Based on computer extrapolations of richness, these savannas on the western edge of the East Gulf Coastal Plain are likely to contain upwards of 200 species of bees.