Pollinators of slender white prairieclover
Pearce, April Marie
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Slender white prairieclover (Dalea candida) is a perennial angiosperm, grown at Bridger plant materials center (BMPC) for reclamation purposes. Interest in the pollinators and pests of this plant developed at BPMC following the death of a 5year old stand. The objectives of these experiments were to (1) determine the diversity and identify the potential pollinators on D. candida and other cultivated and non-cultivated angiosperm species using sweep samples and pan traps; (2) determination of pollen load size and composition of individual insects collected on angiosperm plant species; (3) use of different size exclusion cages to determine the general sizes of insects most important for pollination of D. candida at BPMC; and (4) determine the composition of the community of cavity-nesting Hymenoptera species at BPMC by using trap nests. The overall diversity of BPMC was much higher than expected in a monoculture agriculture area, with a total of 102 Hymenoptera taxa collected. Hill's #2 index was used to determine the diversity of different angiosperm plants and revealed that D. candida had the highest diversity. Analysis of pollen loads via the proportion of "pure" vs. mixed loads (PBP) and mean proportion of conspecific pollen (PCP) revealed conflicting results between the two measures, but there does appear to be some floral constancy occurring, especially in D. candida. Kruskal-Wallis tests of differences in exclusion cage treatments revealed that there are differences in pollination efficacy and the size subset allowed to reach the flowers. Emergences from trap nests revealed differences in the trap nesting community at BPMC and actual pollinator collections in the field.