Pollinators are animals and insects that carry pollen from one plant to another. Pollinators are responsible for much of our food and flowers and are responsible for the reproduction of 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat. In order to understand pollinators, we need to know a little bit about plants.
Just like animals, flowering plants need to mate. But how can an organism spread its genes without being able to meet up with others of its species and this is where pollinators come in. Pollinators are animals of all types that visit flowers and take away their pollen. Pollen is a sex cell of plants and is essential for reproduction. As pollinators move from flower to flower, they deposit the collected pollen, basically allowing the plants to mate.
Many flowers attract insects and animals with the promise of a sugary liquid called nectar. Their smell and bright petals advertise fresh nectar to passing insects and other flying pollinators like hummingbirds. In return for the gift of nectar, the flower deposits pollen on whatever comes to visit. Pollen is like the sperm of plants – and is the way that plants spread their genes and mate with other plants in the same species.
Pollinators come in all shapes and sizes and include species of insects, birds, and mammals.