Dataset of the flowering plant species at Zanthorrea Nursery and their visitation by insect taxa during each survey. Those visited by native bees are highlighted in yellow.
Surveys were undertaken by a single observer (Dr Kit Prendergast, native bee ecologist), and, therefore, results are both free from inter-observer error, and reliable, given the author’s knowledge of native bee taxonomy and the bee faunas in this biogeographic region. Plants surveyed were those in the area where garden plants were available to the public. Surveys were undertaken on warm (>25°C), sunny days with minimal cloud cover and low wind speeds during peak bee activity periods (1100 - 1400 hr) over four months in the austral spring/summer (October, November 2020, and January, February 2021) (Prendergast, pers. obs.). During each survey all plant species in bloom were observed for 200 secs each from a distance of approximately 1 m, and the number and taxonomic identity of insects that visited the focal plant species were observed. Due to the impossibility of identifying insects to species-level in most instances from observation alone, the following categories were used: honeybees (Apis mellifera), native bees, wasps, syrphid flies, and other flies. Native bees were also recorded to lower taxonomic categories that could be determined by expert visual observation in the field (see Prendergast and Ollerton 2021). More detailed information on the insect visitors is provided in Appendix 1. Although sweep-netting would allow for species-level identification (Prendergast and Hogendoorn 2021), this was impractical in a public nursery as it could have damaged the flowers on sale and perturbed customers.
For each plant species, their colour was noted by a single human observer. Whilst this provides a level of subjectivity and precludes UV-colouration from being assessed, funding and equipment for more sophisticated quantification of colour were unavailable. For each plant species, their level of floral resources was quantified as number of flowering heads across all plant individuals of this species present in the nursery. As flowers are the resource insects are attracted to, and plant individuals were aggregated as is typical in a nursery setting, this was the unit at which analyses were conducted. Whilst flowers can have different floral display sizes, quantities and qualities of nectar and pollen, time and equipment to quantify these aspects of floral resources were unavailable and so number of flowering heads was chosen for the purposes of this analysis. The origin of the plant species, in terms of whether it was native to Australia or exotic in origin, was also recorded, and whether it was a wild-type or horticulturally -modified variety.
Data collection time details: October, November 2020, and January, February 2021
Number of files & types: 1 xlsx. file
Special software required to open files: None
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- DOI : 10.25917/2he5-ge15