Calgary Insect Pollinator Diversity and Native Plant Associations

Insects pollinate roughly 75% of Earth’s flowering plants, and while Calgary hosts a large number of diverse insect pollinators, its insect diversity and plant associations had not yet been cataloged. This study sought to document the diversity of Calgary’s insect pollinators and determine which native plants support them. We observed and combined observations of plant-pollinator relationships collected through iNaturalist (3168 observations) from 2008-2021, physical collections and observations from specific plants in 2020 (1840 observations), and observations of insects visiting flowers during transect (294 observations) and quadrat (225 observations) surveys in 2021. We compared the number and association type for 59 native plants, and nine major insect groups (flies, beetles, true bugs, wasps, solitary bees, butterflies, ants, bumble bees, and honey bees). We identified 63 families, 148 genera, and 194 species of insects. We found the greatest number of species and plant-pollinator associations for flies and solitary bees, followed by bumble bees and butterflies. We also identified ten native plants that were associated with the greatest number of major insect groups. The results of this project will aid conservation and restoration efforts by providing guidance to city planners, landscape designers, and gardeners on which plants best support our city’s pollinators.
insect, pollinator, insect pollinator, plant-pollinator relationship, plant-insect pollinator relationship, native Alberta plants, Alberta, Calgary, iNaturalist
Vermaak, S., Seal, M., Ford-Sahibzada, T., and Summers, M. (2021, October 15-16). Calgary Insect Pollinator Diversity and Native Plant Associations [Poster session]. Entomological Society of Alberta Annual Meeting, Online.