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Closeup of a bee pollinating a flower

Entomophily is a form of pollination whereby pollen or spores are distributed by insects. Several insects are reported to be responsible for the pollination (potential or effective) of many plant species, particularly bees, Lepidoptera (e.g., butterflies and moths), wasps, flies, ants and beetles. Some plant species co-evolved with a particular pollinator, such as many orchids species. On the other hand, there are plant species which are generalists, being visited and/or pollinated by several insect groups.[1] Entomophilous species frequently evolve mechanisms to make themselves more appealing to insects, e.g., brightly colored or scented flowers, nectar, or appealing shapes and patterns. Pollen grains of entomophilous plants are generally larger than the fine pollens of anemophilous (wind-pollinated) plants. They usually are of more nutritional value to insects, which may use them for food and inadvertently spread them to other flowers.

The word is artificially derived from the Greek: entomo-/εντομο- [2] "that which is cut in pieces or engraved/segmented", hence "insect"; and phily from φίλη, "that which is loved".

Entomophilous species include the sunflower, orchid, and cycad.

Soldier beetle covered with pollen


  1. ^ Somavilla, A.; Sühs, R.B.; Köhler, A. (2010). Entomofauna associated to the floration of Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Anacardiaceae) in the Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil. Bioscience Journal, 26 (6), 956-965. Retrieved from http://www.seer.ufu.br/index.php/biosciencejournal/article/view/7197
  2. ^ Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott (1980). A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-910207-4.