Diversity, abundance, and distribution of insect visitors to macadamia flowers

Abstract of a publication based on research funded in part by the Australian Flora Foundation

Heard, T. A. Exley, E. M.
Department of Entomology, University of Queensland 4072, Australia
Environmental Entomology. 1994. 23: 91-100

Fifty-five species of insects in 5 orders visited macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia) flowers in orchards in eastern Australia. Only 2 species, Apis mellifera and Trigona carbonaria, were common. Abundance of T. carbonaria, but not A. mellifera, was significantly positively correlated with extent of surrounding eucalypt vegetation. A. mellifera and T. carbonariashowed no preference for heavily versus lightly flowering trees. Both bee species, but especially T. carbonaria, preferred outer racemes to shaded racemes, possibly reducing the effectiveness of these species as pollinators. Both bee species were present for the major period of macadamia flowering. T. carbonaria foraged for a mean of 7 h a day compared with 10 h for A. mellifera. Both species showed moderate annual variation in abundance at some sites. Four bird species were also observed feeding on macadamia flowers; they may play a role in pollination.