Living With Pollinators


Flower and Wasp Pollinator

Plants benefit most from insect pollinators that efficiently move their pollen other plants of the same species. One way plants attract desirable pollinators is to offer rewards such as nectar to insects with high fidelity for the species. The reward is costly to the plant in energy and resources. Ideally the reward would only go to efficient insect pollinators. Flowers can produce a variety of barriers that limit access to nectar and other rewards.

In the photo (above left) we can see a tiny wasp climbing the long shaft of an anther. The flower has anthers that extend far beyond the petals and form a barrier that restricts larger insects from easily reaching the petals and the nectar reward. The shape also requires the wasp to climb the anther and contact the pollen before it can spread its wings to fly away. This ensures that the pollinator caries a dusting of pollen when it leaves.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Living With Pollinators

  1. Pingback: Living With Pollinators | Entomo Planet

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