Bee and Flowering Plant Communities in a Riparian Corridor of the Lower Rio Grande River (Texas, USA)

Amede Rubio, Karen Wright, Scott Longing

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2 Scopus citations


The Rio Grande in Texas is the geopolitical boundary between the United States and Mexico. Considered one of the world's most at-risk rivers, it has been impacted by intensified management by both countries sharing its watershed. Invasion by Arundo donax (Linnaeus) (Poales: Poaceae), giant reed, has been extensive in the riparian corridor, with potential impacts on native wildlife. A need exists to better understand the ecological communities in these habitats to support strategies for enhancing resources for pollinators. We sampled bee and flowering plant communities monthly over 2 yr along a 3.22 km stretch of the lower Rio Grande in Webb County, TX. Bee and plant richness and abundance were bimodal with peaks in March-April and September in both riparian and upland habitats. The bee community was similar across habitats and sampling dates and dominated by a few common species. Anthophora occidentalis (Cresson) (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and Lasioglossum sp. L (Curtis) (Hymenoptera: Apidae) were indicator species of the riparian habitat, and Halictus ligatus (Say) (Hymenoptera: Halictidae) was an indicator species of the upland habitat. Three plant species were indicator species in riparian habitats, spiny pricklepoppy (Argemone sanguinea Greene) (Papaverales: Papaveraceae), spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata Linnaeus) (Lamiales: Lamiaceae), and Pennsylvania cudweed (Gamochaeta pensylvanica Willdenow) (Asterales: Asteraceae). Analysis showed a positive relationship between bee richness and abundance with flowering plant diversity, increasing bee richness within an optimal temperature range 25-30°C, and higher bee abundance with increased average monthly precipitation. This geographically extensive riparian corridor could be managed using ecological restoration to enhance resources for pollinators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-239
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • bee community
  • lower Rio Grande
  • pollinator
  • riparian corridor
  • watershed


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