Variation of foraging rate and wing loading, but not resting metabolic rate scaling, of insect pollinators

  • Terblanche J
  • Anderson B
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Abstract

Morphological, physiological and behavioural variation with body size (i.e. scaling) may affect costs of living in a particular environment for insects and, ultimately, pollination or foraging success. However, few studies have directly assessed the scaling of these traits at the species level. Using two similar-sized pollinator species (the hawkmoth Macroglossum trochilus and the fly Moegistorhynchus longirostrus), we compare intraspecific scaling relationships of resting metabolic rate (RMR), foraging rate (FR) and wing loading (WL) to address this paucity of data. Scaling of RMR was similar for both taxa although the intercepts for the relationships differed. However, these two species showed variation in WL scaling relationships and fundamentally different FR scaling. For M. longirostrus, FR scaling was positive but non-significantly related to body mass while for M. trochilus FR scaling was negative. This suggests that variation in FR and WL, but not RMR scaling, among these flies and hawkmoths may impose significant energetic costs which could affect animal-plant interactions in the wild.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Allometry
  • Fynbos
  • Respirometry

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