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Insect Pollinators


Insect Pollinators
Insects have been around for 400 million years according to the fossil record, and we can learn from the behavioral rules that have shaped their evolution.

Humans cannot live without the Earth’s many insect pollinators. Among the 1 million species of insects, there are many pollinators.
Pollination, an essential function for plant life, is the transfer of pollen grains from the anther, or male flower parts, to the stigma, the female part of the flower. The goal of live plants is to reproduce, and successful pollination allows plants to produce seeds that carry the species’ legacy through the next generations.

Insect Pollinators

Without animal pollinators, Earth’s flowering plants and ecosystems would not survive. Humans would struggle more to survive because pollinators are necessary to produce our diversity of food crops. About 1/3 of the foods we eat rely to some extent on bees: all vegetables and fruits, including almonds, tomatoes, broccoli, apples, blueberries, peaches, oranges, and many other crops.
Butterflies, beetles, flies, ants, and even wasps act as pollinators, in addition to bees. Some flowers open at night and are pollinated by moths.
Plants attract animal pollinators by offering food in the form of sugary nectar or protein-rich pollen from flowers, and in this way achieve active transfer of their genetic material to the next generation. Flowering plants have a diversity of flower shapes, colors, scents, and even structure and amount of nectar per flower.
Flowers vary based on the type of pollinators they have, and such coevolution of shape, scent, and color allows the plant and animal to more successfully interact. These characteristics are so well known to biologists as grouped traits that they can be used to predict the type of pollinator that will visit and aid the flower in successful reproduction.