Urban intensity and flower community structure drive monkey beetle assemblage in Cape Town

Type Journal Article - BOTHALIA – African Biodiversity & Conservation
Title Urban intensity and flower community structure drive monkey beetle assemblage in Cape Town
Volume 53
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2023
Page numbers 1-16
URL https://www.scielo.org.za/pdf/babc/v53n1/09.pdf
Background: Urban landscapes present an important opportunity for pollinator conservation, but little is known about the status and distribution of pollinator populations in urban habitats in Africa. This represents a major gap in the development of a global understanding of urban pollinators – particularly from the rapidly urbanising context. This study uses a speciose clade of flower-visiting beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Hopliini) to explore patterns of pollinator distribution in a major metropolitan area in South Africa. Objectives: We investigated community composition across gradients of urban intensity (defined according to the percentage of soil-sealing within 1 km2 of each sampling location) and socio-economic status to determine pollinator responses
to these urban landscape effects. Methods: A selection of 142 sites were surveyed twice in the austral spring seasons of 2018 and 2019. Data were collected on habitat structure, flower diversity, and pollinator diversity. Results: The study found that different feeding guilds of monkey beetles favoured different levels of urban intensity and that beetle richness significantly correlated
with flower richness. It did not, however, correlate with diversity indicating that abundance is less impacted than the number of species present. Monkey beetles with moderate sensitivity to urban intensity benefitted from the presence of preferred species of flowers. Conclusion: Overall, the findings demonstrate the importance of plant community assemblage in supporting urban monkey beetles. We recommend landscaping with preferred flower species in urban parks to support urban pollinators.

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