Pollinator - Wikipedia
Most plants require the assistance of pollinators to produce seeds and fruit. Follow the links below to learn more about these very important pollinators and the. Coevolution between flowering plants and insect pollinators. Article By: Jarzen, David Links to Primary Literature; Additional Readings. Coevolution is a term. The coevolution of flowering plants and their animal pollinators presents one of nature's most striking examples of adaption and specialization. The relationship between these distantly related taxa is symbiotic in the broad.
Bees provide flowers with the means to reproduce, by spreading pollen from flower to flower in a process called pollination. Without pollination, plants cannot create seeds. How Bees Benefit From Flowers Flowers benefit bees by providing them with all the food their colonies need, to survive.
With the exception of a few species, bees are social insects that live in colonies of between 10, and 60, individuals. How many bees live in a single colony depends on factors such as the bees' species, the weather in their environment and how much food is available. Bees feed on the nectar and pollen of flowers. Nectar is a sweet liquid substance that flowers produce specifically to attract bees, birds and other animals. Pollen is a powder that contains the male genetic material of flowering plants.
Worker bees bees whose job is to collect food for the colony land on flowers and drink their nectar. This nectar is stored in a pouch-like internal structure called the crop.
In the process of doing this, bees become covered in pollen.
What is Pollination?
The pollen sticks to the bee's hairy legs and body. Some bee species even have sack-like structures on their legs for collecting pollen, called pollen baskets.
Sciencing Video Vault After collecting nectar and pollen from many different flowers, bees fly back to their colonies. They regurgitate nectar, mixed with enzymes, and expose the mixture to the air for several days, creating honey. This honey is used to feed the colony. Insect colour vision appeared long before the emergence of the angiosperms Chittka, For this reason, it is believed that flowers tuned their visual signals to the sensory system of pollinators, thus becoming as conspicuous and attractive as possible to them.
In support of this view, some pollinator species have been found to show innate preferences for certain colours Lunau and Maier, ; Raine et al.
- Animal Pollination
- Powerful Partnerships: Exploring Flowers and Their Pollinators
To this extent, colour constitutes one of the main traits used in pollination syndrome theory Faegri and Van der Pijl, According to this theory, unrelated plant species adapted to the same pollinators should show convergence of floral traits, including colour.
For example, bee-visited flowers are expected to be blue or violet, and beetle-visited flowers are expected to be white or cream Faegri and Van der Pijl, Other studies have shown pollinator colour preferences through experimental manipulations of flower colour Campbell et al. Ultimately, flower colour could be considered an important predictor of pollinator group Fenster et al. However, other studies do not support this view. Colour preferences predicted by pollination syndromes are not always matched by innate colour preferences Lunau and Maier,which in many cases are displayed at a finer taxonomic level, such as genus or species, rather than functional group Raine et al.
Other studies report that changes in flower colour are not always associated with distinct pollinator assemblages Cooley et al. Even if pollinators show innate preferences for certain colours, actual flower choice in natural communities may not reflect these preferences for two reasons.
What is Pollination?
Second, colours may also be used by pollinators as signals of floral rewards, so that initial innate preferences may be modulated by subsequent associative learning Gumbert, ; Goyret et al. Individual pollinators show remarkable plasticity and are known to switch plants in response to changes in pollen or nectar levels Heinrich, Thus, the role of colour in determining ultimate flower choice will depend on the interaction between innate and learned preferences.
A handful of studies have analysed the influence of floral colour on pollinator partitioning in plant communities, and most of them conclude that floral colour is an important cue McCall and Primack, ; Bosch et al. However, colours in these studies were categorized as perceived by humans. In their study, the association between floral colour category and pollinator composition narrowly failed significance.
Clearly, further research on this topic is needed. The aim of this study is to establish whether there is a relationship between flower colour and pollinator visitation in natural communities. To do this, we studied the flower reflectance spectrum and flower visitor assemblages in four plant communities comprising 85 species and plant populations.
The four communities are located in the same geographical region, and therefore have similar climatic conditions and share the same regional pool of pollinators. Because the association between flower colour and pollinator composition may be affected by phylogeny, our analyses account for phylogenetic relatedness. We ask two questions: Although apparently similar, these two questions address colour—pollinator relationships from two different and complementary perspectives.