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Main article: Pollination syndrome
Closeup of a bee pollinating a flower
Soldier beetle covered with pollen

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 (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, orchids and cycads. The only entomophilous plants that are not seed plants are the dung-mosses of the family Splachnaceae.[3]


  1. ^ "Entomofauna associated to the floration of Schinus Terebinthifolius Raddi (Anacardiaceae) in the Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil = Entomofauna associada à floração de Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Anacardiaceae) no Estado do Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil | Somavilla |". Seer.ufu.br. Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  2. ^ Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott (1980). A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-910207-4. 
  3. ^ Bernard Goffinet, A. Jonathan Shaw & Cymon J. Cox (2004). "Phylogenetic inferences in the dung-moss family Splachnaceae from analyses of cpDNA sequence data and implications for the evolution of entomophily". American Journal of Botany 91 (5): 748–759. doi:10.3732/ajb.91.5.748.