The present study provides data on the distribution of 128 bee species on the Polish Baltic coast. This brings the total number of species of Apiformes in this region to 164, including those that I reported earlier. The bee fauna of the Polish coast is characterized by a very high proportion of bumblebees and cuckoo bees (locally up to 70-80% of the total catch), and the dominant proportion of Megachilidae, especially Megachile species. The species diversity and dominance structure of the Apiformes differ between the western coast (a very high proportion of bumblebees) and the eastern coast (a large number of dominant species). These results confirm my earlier hypothesis regarding the maritime-continental gradient of bumblebee abundance, indicating that the densities of these insects are higher in NW Poland. This study is the first to assess bee densities on coastal dunes in Poland.
Józef Banaszak, Lucyna Twerd, Halina Ratyńska, Weronika Banaszak-Cibicka and Teresa Zyś
Although research into alien species usually focuses on their negative aspects associated with their penetration into native ecosystems, their influence is much more complicated. This study investigated the pollinators of Bryonia dioica, an invasive climber in the temperate zone. Flowers of this plant in two cities in western Poland (Bydgoszcz and Poznań) were visited by 27 bee species, the most frequent ones being Apis mellifera and Andrena florea. Until recently, the latter was regarded as rare and threatened in Poland. Our results indicate that the spread of Bryonia dioica into urban areas has enabled large and stable populations of Andrena florea to flourish there. This study investigated the daily and seasonal dynamics of its activity. A positive relationship was found between the spread of Bryonia dioica and the presence of its obligatory pollinator Andrena florea. Alien plant species are thus not only an additional source of food for local pollinators but also may favour the occurrence of otherwise rare species with specific food requirements, such as A. florea.
Lucyna Twerd and Józef Banaszak
Parnopes grandior is a species that until recently was on the brink of extinction in Poland. Current data, however, indicates that it is expanding north-westwards. Most records of this species come from after the year 2000, primarily in northern Poland, especially in the north-eastern part of the country. Simultaneously, our research has shown that anthropogenic habitats like sand quarries and military training grounds are optimal sites for P. grandior.
Józef Banaszak and Halina Ratyńska
The study has contributed to the identification of the apifauna of central Wielkopolska. The study identified 161 bee species, accounting for 34.2% of the Polish bee fauna. The highest contribution (28.7% of the fauna) comes from four species, namely Andrena haemorrhoa, A. helvola, Evylaeus calceatus and Osmia rufa, while Bombus terrestris and Evylaeus pauxillus are two subdominants. The assemblages of Apiformes in the study area are characterised by a significant contribution of spring-associated species, which is probably an effect of the presence of numerous willow thickets offering abundant host plants (mainly Salix sp. div.). Both the islands and the surroundings of the lake have a unique species composition, and there are differences in the proportions of the individual dominant species. The overall abundance of bees varies greatly, with mean seasonal density figures on Ostrów Lednicki Island being more than twice as high as that on the mainland grassland, with a distinct predominance of bumblebees. The exceptional richness of Apiformes, including bumblebees, on Ostrów Lednicki should be regarded as the basis for treating this island as a life refuge for bumblebees and including it and its environs in the list of sites of Community importance (SCI). A simultaneous study of the vegetation cover contributed significant data on the vascular plant flora and plant communities of the Lednica Landscape Park. For example, it was the first such investigation of Mewia Island. The study revealed the importance of marginal habitats (natural islands and habitat islands) for the preservation of protected and endangered plant species and plant communities receding from an agricultural landscape.
Józef Banaszak and Bojana Dochkova
Wild bees (Apiformes) were studied in 4 crop fields and 8 refuge habitats for 2 - 5 years in agricultural landscapes in the Pleven and Plovdiv regions of Bulgaria. In total, 233 bee species were recorded. Bee forage plants visited by the honey bee and wild Apiformes are listed for each refuge habitat. Species composition is given for individual habitats, including fields of alfalfa (Medicago sativa), oilseed rape (Brassica napus), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), and radish (Raphanus sativus). Species richness and dominance structure of bee communities in the 2 regions are compared, and species responsible for significant differences are identified.
Józef Banaszak, Ewelina Motyka and Katarzyna Szczepko
The first record of Andrena florivaga Eversmann, 1852 is reported from Poland on the basis of specimens collected in the Kampinos National Park (Mazovian Lowland). Diagnosis, data on localities, biology, and general distribution of the species are provided. One female and five males were caught on a mowed fresh meadow and fallow fields with the use of water pan-traps (Moericke traps), during the 2003 - 2004 time period. The main morphological characteristics distinguishing Andrena florivaga from the very similar Andrena dorsalis Brullé, 1832 species and from the other species of the subgenus Lepidandrena are: in the case of females - the width of facial foveae and colouration of legs, and in the case of males - the length of the first flagellar segment, colouration of clypeus, and pubescence of gonostyles. Andrena florivaga can be found from France in the west, to Central Siberia (Baikal lake region) in the east, and Turkey in the south. Poland is the northernmost locality of the species.
Traian Manole, Józef Banaszak, Halina Ratyńska, Irina Ionescu-Mălăncuş, Eugenia Petrescu and Gabriela Mărgărit
The importance of forest islands for invertebrate biodiversity: a case study in Western Poland
Ecological landscape studies are carried out concerning the ecosystem biocenosis restore and conservation and to define the ecological terms like "ecosystem services" which have increasingly caught the interest of both environmental researchers and policy makers. Ecosystems, if properly protected and maintained, provide a wide array of valuable services to humans, ranging from the air purification by carbon sequestration to preserve biodiversity of natural capital. The agricultural landscape predominating in Western and Central Europe occupies a significant place in Poland deciding, to a large extent, about the quality of the whole natural environment. Forest island studies were carried out in the agricultural landscape of Western Poland, 15 km north-east of Poznań town. Ten forest islands of varying size (from 0.5 ha to 1.5 ha) were investigated. Flora and plant communities of small forests were examined and 58 plant associations were found. Small areas of forest islands became the refuges of forest plant species and invertebrate fauna in an agricultural landscape. Differentiation, number and domination structure of invertebrate fauna (Acari, Araneae, Apoidea and Curculionidae) were studied. The studied forest islands provide suitable conditions for survival and reproduction of many animal species, and for other accidental species which use these areas for feeding or as a temporary shelter.
Józef Banaszak and Halina Ratyńska
Changes in communities of wild bees (Apiformes) were studied in relation to changes in vegetation in six permanent plots (natural forest habitats in the Wielkopolska National Park, and semi-natural habitats in the agricultural landscape near Turew) at the end of four decades (starting from the late 1970s). In 2008-2010, as many as 100 species of Apiformes were recorded there, which is more than reported in earlier decades. The most stable bee communities were those in forest habitats (oak-hornbeam forest, oak forest). Substantial qualitative and quantitative changes in vegetation and bee communities were recorded only after the renaturalisation of a former xerothermic grassland, which had become overgrown with shrubs and trees as a result of plant succession. Human interference (e.g. the felling of some trees growing along a road, clearance of understorey shrubs, ploughing of roadside margins) at selected refuge habitats in the agricultural landscape led to short-term fluctuations in bee abundance and diversity, but an increasing trend in abundance was noted.