Pollination by Insects

Pollination by animals is called Entomophily

Pollination is very important in the reproduction of flowering plants. Furthermore, most flowering plants cannot pollinate on their own, hence they will have to rely on other animals. Invertebrates such as honey bees and butterflies are usually responsible for pollinating a vast majority of the world’s flowering plants. However, there are many more insects that facilitate pollination.

Plants that are pollinated by insects also exhibit special adaptations – for example, their flowers are brightly coloured, with bold and conspicuous patterns which lead the insects to the pollen (and nectar). Some plants also attract insects by producing pheromones which mimic insect pheromones. Such plants are called entomophilous plants.

Insect Pollinators

Following are examples of insect pollinators:

  • Honey Bees
  • Butterflies
  • Moths
  • Beetles
  • Wasps
  • Ants
  • Midges

An Interesting Note

In 2018, research has shown that spiders are quite useful for flowering plants (Anina C. Knauer et al). Spiders, such as crab spiders, find their way to entomophilous plants through the scent of its flowers. This same scent attracts pollinators, but it can also attract florivores – which can consume and destroy the flowers and its parts. It is true that the spider drives away pollinators such as bees, but it can also benefit the plant by driving away florivores that might destroy the flowers. Also, please note that spiders are not technically insects, but are closely related to them.

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