Did you know that the fuzzier an animal is, the better it picks up pollen? Or that most pollination happens by happy accident? Get the buzz on pollinators from Donna Stockton, an entomologist and animal keeper at Amazonia.
1. Pollination is, at times, a happy accident.
In order for a plant to reproduce, its pollen must move from the stamen (male part of a flower) to the pistil (female part). Pollination can take place within one flower, between two or more flowers that are part of the same plant, or between individual plants of the same species.
Some pollen, especially tree pollen, is carried off by the wind, and quite effectively at that. But about 70% of flowering plants—like the ones we plant on farms and in our gardens—need a little help getting pollen from one plant to another. That’s where pollinators come in!
Interestingly, pollinators do this very important deed purely by accident. As they move from flower to flower, they are looking for food for themselves, their young or their hive. Pollen is a great source of fat and protein; nectar is very nutritious as well. An animal could also pollinate as it searches for and gathers materials to build a shelter—or even while it is searching for a mate of its own.