The other pollinators: some recent videos that don’t focus on bees

The review of the biodiversity of pollinators that I published in 2017 estimated that on average about 18% of animal-pollinated plants within natural communities are specialised on bees. Bees also contribute to the reproduction of many of the plants that have generalist pollination systems, which account for perhaps 50% of plant species on average. But that stills leaves a significant fraction (maybe one third) that are specialised on the “other” pollinators, including flies, beetles, birds, bats, and so forth. There is growing awareness of how important these pollinators are for wild plant and crop pollination, but bees still hog most of the pollinator-related media.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been sent links to videos that focus on these other pollinators so I thought I’d compile a list that show us something of the true diversity of animals that act as pollen vectors. Please add your own suggestions in the comments:

Elephant shrews, lizards, cockroaches*, crustaceans, and biting midges are covered in this SciShow video (HT Steve Hawkins)

Opossum pollination of a Brazilian plant is featured in this video (HT Felipe Amorim)

Here’s a recorded webinar on bird pollination by Dan Scheiman from Audubon Arkansas

A few videos on bat pollination by Jim Wolfe can be found here and here and here, and this is a short one that’s a supplement to a recent Journal of Applied Ecology paper on cactus pollination by Constance J. Tremlett et al.

The fascinating ecology of skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), including fly and possibly beetle pollination, is the topic of this video.

Fly pollination is also highlighted in this short piece by the Natural History Museum, and this one deals with drone flies as managed pollinators for agriculture in New Zealand.


*Watch out for my report on a newly discovered cockroach-pollinated plant….hopefully coming later this year…..

5 thoughts on “The other pollinators: some recent videos that don’t focus on bees

  1. Peter Bernhardt

    Had a look at the video on culturing Eristalis (drone flies) for pollination. The procedure looks simple and inexpensive but won’t it increase local mosquito populations as well?



  2. Felipe Wanderley de Amorim

    Hi Jeff,
    I’ve got a couple of videos on Youtube showing these other guys in action visiting flowers. Here ( you can see the pink-spotted hawkmoth, Agrius cingulata visiting Tocoyena formosa (Rubiaceae). It is interesting to see the moth displaying “Wasserthal’s swing hovering beaviour”. And here ( you can see the Pallas’s long-tongued bat, Glossophaga soricina, visiting the flowers of the dwarf population of Caryocar brasiliensis (pequi, Caryocaraceae family). Pequi is a common tree typical of the Cerrado vegetation (the Brazilian neotropical savannah) with a normal size of about 6 – 8 m in height. Here in Botucatu – São Paulo (south-eastern Brazil) at the souther-most distribution of the Cerrado, we have a dwarf population of pequi, where the largest plants do not reach more than 2 m in height. The visit you see in this video occurred in a couple of flowers about no more than 30 cm from the ground. I hope you enjoy the videos! Cheers.


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