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The birds and the bees... and the bats and monkeys

When you think of pollinators, you probably think of honeybees. It is true—they are the most economically important pollinators and are responsible for most of the fruits and vegetables that we eat. But they are not the only ones. In terms of pollination services, honeybees provide 39%, while non-bee animals provide 38% and other bees provide 23%. So, pollinators other than bees pollinate as much as honeybees — who knew? In the USA alone non-bee pollinators provided pollination services that contributed to $10 billion of crops in 2010, while honeybees contributed to over $19 billion.

Pollination involves moving pollen from the male part of a flower, the stamen, to the female part, the stigma, and subsequent fertilization. When fertilized, the plant often produces a fruit and seeds. Pollinators usually get covered with pollen when gathering pollen or nectar from a flower. When they move to the next flower, the pollen can reach the stigma and cause pollination. There is an incredibly large range of non-bee pollinators that includes flies, butterflies and moths, beetles, ants, birds, bats, and wasps.

Read more at ZME Science (Elena Motivans)

Publication date: 3/1/2018



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