Data from: The forgotten flies: the importance of non-syrphid Diptera as pollinators

  • Katherine A. Orford (Contributor)
  • Ian P Vaughan (Contributor)
  • Jane Memmott (Contributor)



Bees, hoverflies and butterflies are taxa frequently studied as pollinators in agricultural and conservation contexts. Although there are many records of non-syrphid Diptera visiting flowers, they are generally not regarded as important pollinators. We use data from 30 pollen-transport networks and 71 pollinator-visitation networks to compare the importance of various flower-visiting taxa as pollen-vectors. We specifically compare non-syrphid Diptera and Syrphidae to determine whether neglect of the former in the literature is justified. We found no significant difference in pollen-loads between the syrphid and non-syrphid Diptera. Moreover, there was no significant difference in the level of specialization between the two groups in the pollen-transport networks, though the Syrphidae had significantly greater visitation evenness. Flower visitation data from 33 farms showed that non-syrphid Diptera made up the majority of the flower-visiting Diptera in the agricultural studies (on average 82% abundance and 73% species richness), and we estimate that non-syrphid Diptera carry 84% of total pollen carried by farmland Diptera. As important pollinators, such as bees, have suffered serious declines, it would be prudent to improve our understanding of the role of non-syrphid Diptera as pollinators.,Visitation network and pollen transport data of the studies used in the analysisPlant-pollinator visitation network data and pollen transport data (including number of pollen grains found on the insects' bodies when swabbed) of the studies used in the analysis. The tabs along the bottom are for each of the 11 studies. Latin names are given. The habitat, sampling design (transect or plot design) and location are given at the top of each spreadsheet.DRYAD Orford et al..xlsx,
Date made available3 Mar 2015

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