The relationship between pollinator visits and climatic suitabilities in specialized pollination interactions

Anahí Espíndola*, Patricio Pliscoff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Pollination by animals presents important advantages for plant reproduction. However, relying on biotic pollen dispersers also exposes plants to challenges, which include, for instance, the need to match the ecologies and phenologies of the pollinator species. Because of their ecological simplicity, specialized pollination systems are useful models to understand some of the variables that modulate how zoophilous pollination evolves, and whether or not species involved in pollination interactions respond jointly to evolutionary or ecological processes. In this study, we used a combination of field work, species distribution modeling (SDM), and geospatial analyses to investigate whether the number of floral visits by different pollinators in specialized zoophilous pollination interactions is correlated with the climatic suitability of the pollinator insects and, thus, to insect potential abundance. To do this, we investigated the pollination biology of four Calceolaria L. (Calceolariacea) species from central Chile, and we sampled across their whole ranges. Our results indicate that the four plant species are pollinated by different oil-bees of genera Centris Fabricius (Apidae: Centridini) and Chalepogenus Holmberg (Apidae: Tapinotaspidini), and that the number of floral visits varies at different localities. Our SDMs were accurate, successfully recovering the known ranges of the pollinators. Our analyses indicated that most plant species occur at localities in which insect climatic suitabilities are high. Furthermore, the number of pollinator visits at each locality was significantly and positively correlated with the insect suitability values, suggesting that matching high suitability areas can indeed increase the reproductive success of the plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-157
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of the Entomological Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved.


  • Calceolaria
  • Oil floral reward
  • Oil-bee
  • Specialized pollination
  • Species distribution model


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