The Unsung Heroes of Pollination 

Bees have a close connection with pollination, and their appetite for nectar and pollen has a huge impact on our survival on this planet. When they fly from one flowering plant to another, bees transfer pollen between the plants, helping those plants fulfill their natural cycle of reproduction. This process is critical to us because flowering plants help produce the oxygen we breathe, clean the water we drink and provide us with edible fruit. In fact, federal agencies report that bee pollination helps produce one quarter of the food eaten by the U.S. population.  

But these busy bees are not alone in their vital contributions to our existence. Did you know that all manner of bugs, as well as bats and birds, also pollinate? Any entomologist will also tell you that not all pollinators know how to fly. Let’s give some of our planet’s unsung heroes of pollination the long-overdue credit they deserve. 

Meet Some Often-Overlooked Pollinators 

Moths 

When not distracted by manmade light sources, moths are drawn to flowers and other sources of nectar for their diet. 

Butterflies 

A close relative of moths, butterflies enjoy a similar diet, though butterflies prefer to eat when the sun is out. 

Birds 

By some estimates, our planet is home to 2,000 species of pollinating birds, including parrots, honeycreepers, orioles, sunbirds and insect-like hummingbirds. 

Lizards 

Lizards and similar reptiles love to eat insects and then wash their dinner down with nectar from a range of flowering plants. 

Bats 

If you enjoy eating mango or perhaps sipping a nice, chilled margarita, you have bats to thank — at least, in part. Bats pollinate a variety of fruits, including bananas and mango, as well as plants like agave, from which the tequila in a margarita is derived. 

Mosquitoes 

Bats also enjoy eating mosquitoes: a dietary preference for which all humans in short sleeves or short pants are grateful. Only female mosquitoes consume blood, but both male and female mosquitoes drink nectar prior to mating. Mosquitoes have been observed pollinating orchids.  

Flies 

They may have a bad reputation due to their attraction to animal waste, but flies also enjoy flower nectar. The hover fly subspecies pollinates many of our most popular fruits, including berries, apples and peaches. 

Lemurs 

Believed to be the largest pollinator on earth, lemurs bury their noses inside flowers in search of tasty nectar, often extracting pollen and seeds in the process. 

Possums 

Unlike its insect-eating American cousin the opossum, Australia’s mouse-like honey possum prefers a diet of nectar and pollen from select flowers. 

Slugs 

They may take their time doing it, but slugs provide pollination benefits to our planet, dining on some forms of nectar among a broader plant-based diet. 

Master Entomology Online With Guidance From the Experts 

The University of Florida is the proud home to the world’s number-one-ranked entomology program. Our online master’s degrees and graduate certificates can help propel you to success within an entomology-related career in government, postsecondary education, private research firms or other fields. All courses are led by faculty composed of some of today’s foremost entomology researchers.  

Throughout your program, you’ll become intimately familiar with a multitude of insects and other arthropods, exploring crucial topics such as helping beneficial species thrive while minimizing the impact of harmful species. Engaging online technology will bring the curriculum to life and connect you with faculty and classmates along the way. All classes and labs are conducted entirely online, enabling you to pursue career-enhancing entomology credentials from practically anywhere in the world. No campus visits are required. 

Here’s a closer look at our program options and benefits: 

Online Master of Science (Non-Thesis) 

Online Graduate Certificate 

See what a master’s degree or graduate certificate from the number-one-ranked entomology program in the world can do for you! Review our programs or apply now

Sources: 
https://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/blog/thats-not-a-bee-unusual-pollinator-species/
https://www.thoughtco.com/insect-pollinators-that-arent-bees-or-butterflies-1967996
https://www.fs.usda.gov/wildflowers/pollinators/animals/unusual.shtml
https://www.usda.gov/pollinators

Learn More About the Program

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