Insect Visitation to Wildflowers in the Endangered Garry Oak, Quercus garryana, Ecosystem of British Columbia

A. L. Parachnowitsch, E. Elle


The Garry Oak Ecosystem (GOE) is a fragmented and endangered ecosystem in Canada, and is currently the focus of conservation and restoration efforts in British Columbia. However, little is known about the basic biology of GOE forbs, or their relationships with pollinating insects. We monitored wildflowers and their insect visitors in 25 quadrats within a 25 × 25 metre plot, located in a fragment of the GOE near Duncan, British Columbia, for six weeks (the majority of the flowering period). Overall, 21 native and non-native forb species flowered in our quadrats during the survey, and we observed an additional six forb species flowering outside of our quadrats. Eight forbs were visited within quadrats by a total of 13 insect taxa, identified to morphospecies. Visits by eight additional morphospecies were observed outside of the quadrats. In general, visitation was low; however, most insect morphospecies were observed visiting more than one plant species, and most plant species were visited by more than one insect morphospecies, suggesting that pollination may be generalised in this community. A Chi-squared analysis indicated that insect visitation was not proportional to the relative abundance of forbs, with higher than expected visitation to Common camas (Camassia quamash), and no observed visits to 11 species, most with very small (putatively unattractive) flowers. The most frequent insect visitor was the introduced Honeybee, Apis mellifera, followed by native mason bees (Osmia spp.) and mining bees (Andrena spp.). Our observations provide baseline data for future, detailed studies that should investigate the importance of plant-pollinator mutualisms for sustainability of populations and communities in this rare ecosystem.


Garry Oak Ecosystem; Quercus garryana; plant-pollinator interactions; Common Camas; Camassia quamash; British Columbia

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