Interaction fidelity is less common than expected in plant-pollinator communities - Sorbonne Université Access content directly
Journal Articles Journal of Animal Ecology Year : 2022

Interaction fidelity is less common than expected in plant-pollinator communities


Pairs of plants and pollinators species sometimes consistently interact throughout time and across space. Such consistency can be interpreted as a sign of interaction fidelity, that is a consistent interaction between two species when they co-occur in the same place. But how common interaction fidelity is and what determines interaction fidelity in plant–pollinator communities remain open questions. We aim to assess how frequent is interaction fidelity between plants and their pollinators and what drives interaction fidelity across plant–pollinator communities. Using a dataset of 141 networks around the world, we quantify whether the interaction between pairs of plant and pollinator species happens more (‘interaction fidelity’) or less (‘interaction avoidance’) often than expected by chance given the structure of the networks in which they co-occur. We also explore the relationship between interaction fidelity and species' degree (i.e. number of interactions), and the taxonomy of the species involved in the interaction. Our findings reveal that most plant–pollinator interactions do not differ from random expectations, in other words show neither fidelity nor avoidance. Out of the total 44,814 co-occurring species pairs we found 7,877 unique pair interactions (18%). Only 551 (7%) of the 7,877 plant–pollinator interactions did show significant interaction fidelity, meaning that these pairs interact in a consistent and non-random way across networks. We also find that 39 (0.09%) out of 44,814 plant–pollinator pairs showed significant interaction avoidance. Our results suggest that interactions involving specialist species have a high probability to show interaction fidelity and a low probability of interaction avoidance. In addition, we find that particular associations between plant and insect orders, as for example interactions between Hymenoptera and Fabales, showed high fidelity and low avoidance. Although niche and neutral processes simultaneously influence patterns of interaction in ecological communities, our findings suggest that it is rather neutral processes that are shaping the patterns of interactions in plant–pollinator networks.
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hal-03827021 , version 1 (24-10-2022)



Santiago Parra, Elisa Thébault, Colin Fontaine, Vasilis Dakos. Interaction fidelity is less common than expected in plant-pollinator communities. Journal of Animal Ecology, 2022, 91 (9), pp.1842-1854. ⟨10.1111/1365-2656.13762⟩. ⟨hal-03827021⟩
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