A honeybee feeding on a purple inflorescence (possibly an Echinops species)

ZooSoc Takeover: The Birds and the Bees

Pollinators: what are they?

A pollinator is basically any animal that collects, transports and deposits pollen while moving from flower to flower in search of some conveniently placed incentive; usually food. While pollinators can be anything from birds through bats to lizards, in Ireland, our animal pollinators are insects.

Six spot burnet moth (Zygaena filipendulae). Image credit: Quartl, Wikimedia Creative Commons.

Between our 20 Bombus species (bumblebees), 77 different solitary bees, and 1 domestic honey producing species, Ireland has almost 100 species of bee providing us with a lot of our pollination services. In addition, we also have 180 hoverflies, along with multiple moths, butter-and-regular flies, all making a contribution to Irish pollination.

Speckled wood butterfly (Pararge aegerialmage). Image credit: Alvesgaspar, Wikimedia Creative Commons.

Though that may sound like pollinators a plenty, both globally and at home these ecosystem servers are in decline. In the last number of decades, the populations of 42 Irish bee species have dropped by 50%. A third of Irish bees and 24% of European Bumble bees are Red Listed as at risk of extinction.

See you later pollinator.


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