Critical resource levels of pollen for the declining bee Andrena hattorfiana (Hymenoptera, Andrenidae)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The native bee fauna provides an important ecosystem function, but a large proportion of this fauna in Europe is threatened as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation. The solitary bee Andrena hattorfiana is specialised on collecting pollen from the plant-family Dipsacaceae. In northern Europe the major pollen resource is the insect-pollinated herb Knautia arvensis. We quantified the available K. arvensis resource, measured habitat characteristics and performed a flower-visitor survey in 57 well-defined K. arvensis populations in southern Sweden. There was a strong relationship between bee and plant population sizes. In populations with A. hattorfiana present (N=26), the female bees utilised on average 39% (12-80%) of the total available pollen resource. The nest architecture and nesting biology of A. hattorfiana is described for the first time. By excavating nests, we found that the provisioning for one average bee nest (containing 6 cells) required ca. 72 inflorescences or 11 plant individuals. The results suggest a certain minimum pollen amount needed to host an A. hattorfiana population. For example, for a population of ten reproducing A. hattorfiona female with the average degree of utilisation, the critical resource was predicted as 156 +/- 16 individuals (+/- SE) of the plant K. arvensis, which corresponds to 780 inflorescences or 36,731,978 pollen grains. These findings suggest that calculations via a 'pollen budget' can predict critical resources for a given size of specialised bee population, and thereby provide a tool in conservation.


  • M Larsson
  • Markus Franzén
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-414
JournalBiological Conservation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Animal Ecology (Closed 2011) (011012001)