Conclusion

Though beetles, flies, moths, and butterflies visit a broad range of angiosperm taxa relative to social bees, much less is known about their effectiveness as pollinators, or about the sensory attributes and learning abilities that guide their behaviors. The research reviewed above suggests that non-hymenopteran insects can be effective pollinators of a range of taxa, and that many species in these groups are adept and flexible learners. Quantitative data on pollinator performance are critical in order to evaluate the importance of non-hymenopterans as pollinators in generalized as well as specialized systems. Comparative studies of learning and memory, using identical training and testing protocols, will allow us to evaluate differences across taxa, and will help us to tease apart the relative contributions of phylogenetic history and lifestyle-mediated selection.

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