Results are summarized in Table 1, which lists 311 species encountered, the number of additional flower records from the ABS, the diet of each species in addition to nectar or pollen of saw palmetto, and the source of the latter information.
This order includes the largest number of species visiting saw palmetto flowers at the ABS.
Nectar and pollen of saw palmetto support activities of about 20% of approximately 575 known species of aculeate Hymenoptera at the ABS, a significant portion of the local arthropod fauna.
An unidentified species of Dolichogenidea (Microgastrinae) is the only braconid species known to take nectar from saw palmetto flowers at the ABS.
With 117 species, the Diptera is the second best represented order among visitors to saw palmetto flowers at the ABS.
Many ABS Syrphidae regularly ingest pollen, and it is possible that pollen-feeding Syrphidae find saw palmetto pollen deficient or repellent.
Fifty-two species of ABS Coleoptera visit saw palmetto flowers.
The Ecological Network of Insects Supported by Saw Palmetto Flowers
A complex series of ecological roles is carried out by insects whose activities are fueled by saw palmetto flowers at the ABS.
Saw palmetto flowers support a wide range of insect ecological roles chiefly by fueling adult activities of insects whose larvae have other dietary habits.
Predators of arthropods make up the largest group of species supported by saw palmetto flowers, 158 out of 228 species (69.
There are 44 species visiting saw palmetto flowers that are predators of adults or larvae of other flower visitors (Table 1).
Flower-visiting predatory insects may be useful to individual saw palmetto plants as pollinators, but they may not provide significant additional services as predators of phytophagous species that attack saw palmetto.
In the ecological web of which saw palmetto is a part, predatory saw palmetto flower visitors might have a significant cumulative role in the control of phytophagous insects on other plant species.
Phytophagous insects visiting saw palmetto flowers comprise two groups: insects whose larvae feed on pollen, and those whose larvae feed on tissues of living plants.