O7. Insects World : Polinators

Insects play a major role in the pollination of flowers. In fact, there are many plants that depend on insects for pollination.

Insects visit flowers for pollen and nectar. They are less likely to visit flowers that do not produce sweet nectar. For example, bees rarely visit roses because these flowers do not produce nectar.

Plants adapt their appearance to make them appear attractive to insects. They reward their insect helpers with sugary nectar.

Some flowers smell sweet. This is to attract insects to come close to them. Butterflies and other nectar-sucking insects help in pollinating these flowers by carrying pollen grains on their hairy bodies.

Not all flowers smell nice. Some flowers, such as arum flowers, smell like dead and decaying matter. This is to attract flies and other pollinating insects that lay eggs in rotting matter.

Brightly-coloured flowers attract a lot of insects towards them. Experts have found that butterflies are most attracted to red and purple flowers, while moths are usually attracted to flowers that are pink or white in colour.

Some flowers have strong lines and marks on their petals. These marks can only be seen by insects and are not visible to the human eye. They are like the landing lights at an airport and lead to the centre of the flower where the pollen and nectar are situated.

There are some species of plant in which the colour of the flower changes after an insect has pollinated it. The new colour discourages other insects from visiting the flower.

Insects are sometimes fooled by the appearance of plants. Some plants resemble female insects. Male insects are attracted to these flowers and when they try to mate, the flower is pollinated.

Bees and butterflies are the most common pollinaters of flowers. Beetles also help in pollination, but they are not as effective.

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