Deforestation has dramatically reduced the extent of Atlantic Forest cover in Brazil. Orchid bees are key pollinators in neotropical forest, and many species are sensitive to anthropogenic interference. In this sense understanding the matrix permeability for these bees is important for maintaining genetic diversity and pollination services. Our main objective was to assess whether the composition, abundance, and diversity of orchid bees in matrices differed from those in Atlantic forest. To do this we sampled orchid bees at 4-mo intervals from 2007 to 2009 in remnants of Atlantic Forest, and in the surrounding pasture and eucalyptus matrices. The abundance, richness, and diversity of orchid bees diminished significantly from the forest fragment toward the matrix points in the eucalyptus and pasture. Some common or intermediate species in the forest areas, such as Eulaema cingulata (F.) and Euglossa fimbriata Moure, respectively, become rare species in the matrices. Our results show that the orchid bee community is affected by the matrices surrounding the forest fragments. They also suggest that connections between forest fragments need to be improved using friendly matrices that can provide more favorable conditions for bees and increase their dispersal between fragments.
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Vol. 44 • No. 6