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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Jan 5;113(1):146-51. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1517092112. Epub 2015 Nov 30.

Non-bee insects are important contributors to global crop pollination.

Author information

1
School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Armidale, 2350, NSW Australia; rrader@une.edu.au.
2
Department of Integrative Ecology, Estación Biológica de Doñana, Isla de la Cartuja, 41092, Seville, Spain;
3
Grupo de Investigación en Agroecología, Sede Andina, Universidad Nacional de Río Negro, Mitre 630, 8400 San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina; Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, 8400 San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina;
4
Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, Reading University, Reading, RG6 6AR, United Kingdom;
5
The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd., 8140 Christchurch, New Zealand;
6
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901;
7
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Land and Water Flagship, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia;
8
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia; The Ecology Centre, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072 Australia;
9
Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Department of Agriculture, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia;
10
Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, Lund University, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden;
11
Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden;
12
Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616;
13
Departamento de Ecologia, Campus Universitário Darcy Ribeiro, Universidade de Brasília, Brasilia, Federal District, 70910-900, Brazil; Naturalis Biodiversity Center, 2333 CR Leiden, The Netherlands; Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes, Faculdade de Ciencias, Universidade de Lisboa, 1649-004 Lisbon, Portugal;
14
Instituto de Ecologia Regional, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales e Instituto Miguel Lillo, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, 4000 San Miguel de Tucumán, Tucumán, Argentina;
15
Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Koblenz-Landau, D-76829 Landau, Germany;
16
School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Armidale, 2350, NSW Australia;
17
Departamento de Zootecnia, Centro de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidade Federal do Ceará, 60.356-000, Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil;
18
Sustainable Agriculture, Plant Production and Protection Division, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Rome 00153, Italy;
19
Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zürich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland;
20
Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences INH, CH-8046 Zurich, Switzerland;
21
Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal da Bahia - Campus de Ondina, 40170-210 Salvador, Bahia, Brasil;
22
Department of Animal Ecology, Justus Liebig University Giessen, D-35392 Giessen, Germany;
23
Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology, Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany;
24
Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation Group, Wageningen University, 6708 PB, Wageningen, The Netherlands;
25
Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Department of Agriculture, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia; Department of Biology, Lund University, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden; Swedish Rural Economy and Agricultural Society in Kristianstad, S-291 09 Kristianstad, Sweden;
26
Department of Entomology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot 7610001, Israel; Steinhardt Museum of Natural History and National Research Center, Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel;
27
Naturalis Biodiversity Center, European Invertebrate Survey - The Netherlands, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands;
28
Department of Biology, Lund University, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden;
29
Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina, SK, Canada S4P 2V7;
30
Resource Ecology Group, Wageningen University, 6708 PB, Wageningen, The Netherlands; Animal Ecology Team, Alterra, Wageningen University and Research Center, Droevendaalsesteeg 3a, 6708 PB, Wageningen, The Netherlands;
31
Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Koblenz-Landau, D-76829 Landau, Germany; Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Community Ecology, University of Bern, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland;
32
Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, Lund University, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden; Department of Biology, Lund University, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden;
33
School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX, United Kingdom; School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland; Trinity Centre for Biodiversity Research, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland;
34
School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland; Trinity Centre for Biodiversity Research, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland;
35
Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Krakow, Poland; Department of Pomology and Apiculture, University of Agriculture in Krakow, 31-425, Krakow, Poland;
36
Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8687, Japan;
37
Departamento de Ciencias Químico-Biológicas, Universidad de las Américas Puebla, Cholula, Puebla, Mexico.
38
Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Krakow, Poland;

Abstract

Wild and managed bees are well documented as effective pollinators of global crops of economic importance. However, the contributions by pollinators other than bees have been little explored despite their potential to contribute to crop production and stability in the face of environmental change. Non-bee pollinators include flies, beetles, moths, butterflies, wasps, ants, birds, and bats, among others. Here we focus on non-bee insects and synthesize 39 field studies from five continents that directly measured the crop pollination services provided by non-bees, honey bees, and other bees to compare the relative contributions of these taxa. Non-bees performed 25-50% of the total number of flower visits. Although non-bees were less effective pollinators than bees per flower visit, they made more visits; thus these two factors compensated for each other, resulting in pollination services rendered by non-bees that were similar to those provided by bees. In the subset of studies that measured fruit set, fruit set increased with non-bee insect visits independently of bee visitation rates, indicating that non-bee insects provide a unique benefit that is not provided by bees. We also show that non-bee insects are not as reliant as bees on the presence of remnant natural or seminatural habitat in the surrounding landscape. These results strongly suggest that non-bee insect pollinators play a significant role in global crop production and respond differently than bees to landscape structure, probably making their crop pollination services more robust to changes in land use. Non-bee insects provide a valuable service and provide potential insurance against bee population declines.

KEYWORDS:

bee; beetle; fly; insect pollinator; unmanaged pollinator

PMID:
26621730
PMCID:
PMC4711867
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1517092112
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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