Although it may sometimes seem that insects are of little importance as they are very small animals, some of them fulfill fundamental functions in the balance of ecosystems. In fact, some of the most important are those called pollinating insects, of which bees are undoubtedly the best known of all, although they are not the only ones. These insects stand out from the rest for their importance when it comes to getting pollen to reach other flowers, which allows fertilization in the reproductive systems of plants and, in this way, the fruit is finally produced.
If you want to know what pollinating insects are and their importance for the environment , keep reading AgroCorrn and we will explain it to you.
How do plants reproduce
Plants can reproduce in various ways. However, the most common and the most common, at least in many of the plant species, is sexual reproduction. This is carried out with the union of male and female gametes, that is, in a similar way to the reproduction carried out by other living beings on the planet.
In the case of plants, this sexual reproduction takes place in flowers , which are the sexual organs of plants. We recommend that you also read this other article on Why are flowers important in nature .
For plant reproduction to be achieved, it is necessary for the pollen (male gamete) of the plants, present in the stamens, to reach the pistil of the flower , where the female gametes are found. In this place, fertilization will take place and the process by which the flower will become fruit will begin. The fruits of plants are characterized by having seeds , which will already be the main elements for a new plant to develop.
How is the pollination process
It should be borne in mind that, depending on the type of plant, you can find plants with male or female flowers, as well as flowering plants that have both gametes. However, for the pollen to reach the pistil , there are two main ways in which it is achieved.
On the one hand, we can find that the pollen, carried by the wind , comes to rest on the head of the pistil and, finally, enters its interior and fertilization can be carried out. However, the most common way it is achieved is through pollinating insects, such as bees . These insects come to the flowers to feed on nectar, a substance secreted by the flowers in order to attract these insects to feed on it. Learn about the Plants and flowers that attract bees here .
This nectar is not secreted by chance, but, when pollinating insects arrive at the flower to feed, they also come into contact with the pollen present in the stamens. In fact, a very important part ends up resting on the body of these insects. In this way, when the pollinating insects change flowers, they carry the pollen with them, which allows it to reach the pistil of other flowers without too many complications, favoring the pollination process of the plants , which is why these insects receive this Name.
What are pollinating insects
Without a doubt, the pollinating insect par excellence is the bee. This is a herbivorous insect, since it feeds on the nectar secreted by the flowers of the plants. In addition, they have a hairy body, which helps pollen settle on them and can be transported from one flower to another more easily. Here we tell you more about Why bees are so important for ecological balance . However, although bees are the most important pollinating insects, they are not the only ones who carry out this important task.
Another of the insects that sometimes carry out pollination tasks are wasps . Despite the fact that this bee-like insect is a carnivorous insect, it sometimes goes to the flowers to take their nectar, since it is a very energetic substance. When this happens, it sometimes ends up pollinating the flowers in the same way that the bee does. Likewise, other insects that also act as pollinators in a similar way to how the wasp does are ants , which can transport pollen from one flower to another in search of their own food.
However, both in the case of wasps and ants, their pollination is very occasional. However, in addition to bees , there are other insects that can be fully considered pollinating insects by feeding on the nectar of flowers and moving constantly from one flower to another. A good example is found in flower flies , very similar to the common fly but which lay their eggs on flowers instead of dead meat. Another example is butterflies, like the famous hummingbird butterfly. These insects, like the bees and the flower fly, feed on the nectar of the flowers, so they are continuously traveling from one flower to another carrying the pollen of these flowers with themselves.
Finally, another of the insects that acts as a pollinator are some types of beetles , especially in hot or tropical regions. In these cases, it is a pollination that is carried out in a similar way to that carried out by wasps and ants, since they are insects that are not prepared to feed exclusively on nectar. However, when they go to the flowers, they can also carry out pollination of some specimens.
Thus, by way of summary, the most important pollinating insects, either because they transport pollen when eating nectar or when passing through the flower, are:
- Flower flies
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