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Data from: Foraging efficiency and size matching in a plant – pollinator community: the importance of sugar content and tongue length

Citation

Klumpers, Saskia G.T.; Stang, Martina; Klinkhamer, Peter G.L. (2020), Data from: Foraging efficiency and size matching in a plant – pollinator community: the importance of sugar content and tongue length, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.r2s74q4

Abstract

A longstanding question in ecology is how species interactions are structured within communities. Although evolutionary theory predicts close size matching between floral nectar tube depth and pollinator proboscis length of interacting species, such size matching has seldom been shown and explained in multispecies assemblages. Here, we investigated the degree of size matching among Asteraceae and their pollinators and its relationship with foraging efficiency. The majority of pollinators, especially Hymenoptera, choose plant species on which they had high foraging efficiencies. When proboscides were shorter than nectar tubes, foraging efficiency rapidly decreased because of increased handling time. When proboscides were longer than nectar tubes, a decreased nectar reward rather than an increased handling time made shallow flowers more inefficient to visit. Altogether, this led to close size matching. Overall, our results show the importance of nectar reward and handling time as drivers of plant – pollinator network structure.

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