A pollinator is an animal that does pollination. Pollination is almost entirely done by insects, though there are some exceptions. Some birds (such as hummingbirds) pollinate flowers as they take nectar. Overall, however, it is insects that pollinate. Bees, of course, pollinate flowers as they take nectar. But wasps, ants, flies, beetles, butterflies and moths all have many species which are pollinators. The plant which offers the pollen is called the pollenizer.
The list of pollinators is long. Bees, wasps, ants, flies, mosquitoes, lepidoptera and beetles all have some pollinators who take nectar, and also some vertebrates: bats, birds, monkeys, lemurs, possums, rodents.
Wild pollinators often visit many plant species, and plants are visited by many pollinator species. All these relations together form a network of interactions between plants and pollinators. Surprising similarities exist in the networks of interactions between plants and pollinators. This structure is similar in very different ecosystems on different continents, consisting of entirely different species.
References[change | change source]
- Fægri K. and L. van der Pijl. 1979. The principles of pollination ecology. Oxford: Pergamon.
- Dennis Wm. Stevenson; Knut J. Norstog & Priscilla K.S. Fawcett 1998. Pollination biology of cycads. In S.J. Owens & P.J. Rudall (eds) Reproductive biology. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
- Gilbert, Francis S. 1986. Hoverflies. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-27701-9
- Bascompte J; Jordano P; Melián C.J. & Olesen J.M. 2003. The nested assembly of plant–animal mutualistic networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100 (16), 9383-9387.