Pollination by Animals

Pollination by animals is called Zoophily

Why do Plants Require Pollinators?

Pollination is an important process for flowering plants to survive. Since most flowering plants cannot pollinate on their own, they have to rely on other animals. Usually, invertebrates are responsible for pollinating a vast majority of flowering plants. However, vertebrates such as birds and bats are also effective facilitators of pollination.

Plants that rely on animals to pollinate have special adaptations that attract the pollinators. These include:

  • Brightly coloured flowers
  • Sweet nectars
  • Appealing patterns and shapes

Most relationships which exist between plants and its pollinators are mutual, where food is provided (nectars) in exchange for pollination. Plants can also rely on other vectors for pollination – such as wind and water. However, every vector has its own pros and cons. For instance, using animals as vectors for pollination is quite energy-intensive for plants – like producing nectars to attract pollinators. But the pay-off is that animal pollinators almost always result in pollination. On the other hand, using vectors such as wind and water doesn’t require much energy – as the pollens are passively carried through wind or water. However, this means that the pollen is distributed randomly and may not always result in pollination.

Animals That Facilitate Pollination

  • Bees
  • Beetles
  • Butterflies
  • Ants
  • Hummingbirds
  • Bats
  • Rodents
  • Lemurs
  • Honey Possums
  • Lizards
  • Wasps
  • Moths
  • Slugs

Apart from these animals, humans also carry out artificial pollination (mechanical pollination). This method is often carried out by manually transferring pollen from the stamen of one plant to the pistil of another plant.

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