Weird And Unexpected Pollinators Who Help Keep Our World’s Ecosystems Going!

July 11, 2018
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With National Pollinator Week behind us, it may be easy to focus on other issues and forget that pollinators need our help to bounce back. While many people only envision little honeybees when they think about pollinators, they couldn’t be a more diverse group of animals, including mammals, birds, insects, and even reptiles! Here are some

Bats: Bat pollination, known as chiropterophily, occurs in flowering plants including cocoa, mango, guava, banana and agave – the plant used to make tequila. And the baobab tree relies almost solely on bats for pollination

Beetles: There are more types of pollinating beetles than any other pollinator species. When these insects pick out a flower, they aren’t just after the nectar; they will eat petals and other parts as well. Beetles were some of the first pollinators of ancient angiosperms, such as the magnolia!

Blue tailed day gecko: This small lizard is found on the island Mauritius (located off the coast of Africa). They are the only pollinators of Roussea simplex, a rare and endangered plant species. It is also responsible for spreading around the plant’s seeds because it feeds on the fruits. This adorable gecko has a very intricate relationship with the plant!

Black and White ruffed lemur: This lemur is the largest pollinator in the world, and it is critically endangered. They are the primary pollinator of the traveller’s tree and it isn’t easy getting to its flowers. These lemurs have to open up the flower and reach in with their long snout and tongue. They are the only animals that are strong and nimble enough to pollinate these flowers!

Honey Possums: A honey possum is from Australia and is about the size of a mouse. Even though they have honey in their name, they don’t actually eat it! They live off nectar. They pollinate banksia and eucalyptus flowers.

As you can see, pollinators come in all shapes and sizes. It’s important to remember that everything we do makes an impact on pollinators of all kinds, all around the world. Making small changes such as providing food or harborage for pollinators, staying away from pesticides, lessening our environmental impact (ie, using less plastic), and supporting local growers can help support pollinators. Keep these allies on your mind all through the year and help us spread the word!

Authored By Erin M Mills

Erin Mills received her undergraduate degree in Entomology from Texas A&M University in 2004, and after a short tour of the pest control industry, joined HMNS as the Cockrell Butterfly Center's Insect Zoo Manager in 2005. Over the years she expanded the butterfly center's live arthropod collection, developed the ever popular "Bugs on Wheels" outreach program, and continued to establish her role as HMNS's insect expert. In October of 2016, she achieved her long time goal of becoming the Director of the Cockrell Butterfly Center and in January of 2021, she joined the team at HMNS Sugar Land as the Director of Nature Programming. Erin leads hikes in Brazos Bend State Park and provides fun, hands-on nature-based experiences at HMNS Sugar Land. As a Board Certified Entomologist, Erin has extensive knowledge of insect identification, ecology, plant relationships, husbandry, really any insect-related topic!

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