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An Australian Painted Lady feeding on nectar through its long proboscis

In zoology, a nectarivore is an animal which eats the sugar-rich nectar produced by flowering plants. Most nectarivores are insects or birds, but there are also nectarivorous mammals, notably several species of bats in the Southwestern United States and Mexico, as well as the Australian Honey Possum (Tarsipes rostratus), and Geckos (genus Phesulma) in Mauritius. The term is less exclusive than other -vores; many animals that are considered nectarivorous may also be insectivorous. Many species are nectar robbers, performing no pollination services to a plant while still consuming nectar.


Nectar is produced by flowering plants to attract pollinators to visit the flowers and transport pollen between them. Flowers often have specialized structures that make the nectar accessible only for animals possessing appropriate morphological structures, and there are numerous examples of coevolution between nectarivores and the flowers they pollinate. For example, hummingbirds and hawkmoths have long narrow beaks that can reach nectar at the bottom of long tubular flowers. Bats, on the other hand, visit open flowers where the nectar is not as deeply hidden.[1][2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wiens, John A. (1992). The Ecology of Bird Communities: Processes and variations. p. 336. 
  2. ^ Richard, A.J. (1997). Plant breeding systems (Second ed.). Chapman & Hall. ISBN 0-412-57440-3.