Do Butterflies Pollinate Flowers?

April 29, 2016

Do Butterflies Pollinate Flowers?

Do Butterflies Pollinate Flowers?

For a vast majority of plants in the world today, pollination is required to produce fruit and reproduce. Without pollination, new plants would not be able to grow and entire plant species could die out. So how does this pollination occur? For a lot of plants in the world, it is done by insects. The most famous pollinator in the world is the bee but not far behind the bee are the many varieties of butterflies. Here is what you need to about butterflies and their role in pollination:

While Not As Effective As Bees, Butterflies Pollinate Many Flowers

The reason bees are so effective and useful as pollinators is that their body is close to the ground and very wide. Their physical characteristics also make it extremely easy to collect pollen across their entire body and transport it between flowers. But that does not mean bees are the only pollinators. With their long legs and different body structure, butterflies are attracted to different types of flowers and are not as efficient at pollinating flowers, but they still pollinate many different plant species. With the current crisis with the world bee population, the role butterflies play in pollination is becoming more significant.

Some Flowers Are Exclusively Pollinated By Butterflies

While the shape of a butterfly’s body prevents it from pollinating some plants as well as other insects, they have certain characteristics that make them perfect for some flowers. One such flower is the firecracker plant. The flowers of this plant are very slender and tubular and hang at a variety of angles. Because of this, most insects are unable to maneuver to the plant and cannot reach inside its petals. The orange barred sulfur butterfly, on the other hand, is perfectly designed to reach inside the flower. Ultimately the orange barred sulfur butterfly will get pollen on its legs and body that is then transported to other flowers. Without the pollination from butterflies, this plant—along with many others—may not exist today.

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