The invasive daisy flower is usually considered a problem, but research indicates that it may benefit crops and encourage biodiversity on the islands.
Dr. Abhineshwar Prasad of the University of the South Pacific and Dr. Simon Hodge from Lincoln University in New Zealand reported that more than 100 species of arthropods -- including wasps, honey bees and solitary bees -- associated themselves with roadside patches of creeping daisies (Sphagneticola trilobata).
"There is growing concern regarding the global decline of honey bee populations and the implications of this demise for the pollination of crops. In the future we may rely on other insect species to perform crop pollination services, including naturally-occurring native or introduced species of bees," the authors wrote.
"Pollination success of generalist plants tends to be positively related to pollinator diversity, so any habitat modifications that increase the number of pollinating species present at a site would tend to be of some inherent value."
The researchers gathered data on the bee species Braunsapis puangensis in the Suva area of Fiji and its association with creeping daisies. It appears that the presence of some invasive flowering plants may encourage higher numbers of pollinating species to work at a site.
"Our study suggests it is important to realize that although S. trilobata is considered an invasive 'nuisance weed' in one context, it may be of value to crop growers, and commercial honey producers, by attracting and augmenting local populations of pollinating insects,” the authors wrote.
“Our investigation represents preliminary ecological work on aspects of the ecology of an introduced bee utilizing a naturalized invasive plant. Our results indicate that adult Braunsapis puangensis are present in Fiji throughout the year, and its abundance on patches of Sphagneticola trilobata varies both temporally and spatially.”
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