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Hylaeus communis (Hymenoptera: Colletidae), a new exotic bee for North America with generalist foraging and habitat preferences

  • Kyle T. Martins (a1), Étienne Normandin (a2) and John S. Ascher (a3)


We document a novel exotic bee for North America, Hylaeus (Hylaeus) communis Nylander, 1852 (Hymenoptera: Colletidae), and determine whether it is likely to spread widely across the continent. To evaluate the extent to which H. communis behaves as a generalist and would be able to adapt to novel North American environments, we compare the breadth of its climatic, floral, habitat, and nesting preferences between its native European range and sites where it was first discovered in southern Québec, Canada. Specifically, we calculate the paired difference index, which approximates species generalism, from a set of bipartite networks linking Hylaeus Fabricius, 1793 species to their respective floral hosts and habitats. Results indicate that H. communis is the most adaptable bee of the European Hylaeus fauna and will likely acclimate to its new environment, being a greater generalist than an already widely established exotic bee, H. hyalinatus Smith, 1842. In southern Québec, we find that, despite visiting a wide variety of flowering species, it exhibits a strong association with non-native plants and resides almost exclusively in urban settings. We hypothesise that H. communis will be able to spread widely throughout North America via multiple human-mediated but accidental dispersal events and by following the distribution of European weeds and horticultural plants.

Cet article documente et détaille pour la première fois une nouvelle espèce d’abeille exotique pour le continent américain, Hylaeus (Hylaeus) communis Nylander, 1852 (Hymenoptera: Colletidae). Nous avons évalué la possibilité que cette espèce se distribue largement à travers le continent. Afin d’établir à quelle mesure H. communis se comporte comme une généraliste et pourra s’adapter au nouvel environnement nord-américain, nous avons comparé l’étendue de ses préférences climatiques, florales, d’habitats et de nidification dans sa distribution native européenne avec les nouvelles données de répartition dans le sud du Québec, Canada. Nous avons calculé l’index de différence paire, une analyse qui fait une approximation du généralisme de l’espèce à partir d’un ensemble de réseaux bipartite qui lie les espèces d’Hylaeus Fabricius, 1793 avec leurs hôtes floraux respectifs et les habitats dans lesquelles ils sont présents. Les résultats démontrent que H. communis est l’espèce d’abeille la plus adaptable de la faune européenne et va probablement s’acclimater à son nouvel environnement, étant une espèce plus généraliste qu’une autre espèce exotique déjà établie, H. hyalinatus Smith, 1842. Nous avons trouvé que H. communis non seulement visitait un large éventail de plantes à fleurs, mais qu’elle démontrait une forte association avec des plantes non indigènes et qu’elle résidait presque exclusivement dans les environnements urbains. Nous faisons l’hypothèse que H. communis sera capable d’étendre sa présence à travers l’Amérique du Nord au moyen d’introductions multiples accidentelles et en suivant la répartition actuelle des variétés de plantes européennes et d’horticulture.


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Subject editor: Cory Sheffield



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