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Butterfly Pollination

A pollinator is the biotic agent (vector) that moves pollen from the male anthers of a flower to the female stigma of a flower, to accomplish fertilization of the female gametes in the ovule of the flower. A pollinator is different from a pollenizer, which is a plant that is a source of pollen for the pollination process.

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) also pollinate plants to various degrees. They are not major pollinators of food crops, but various moths are important pollinators of other commercial crops such as tobacco. Pollination by certain moths may be important, however, or even crucial, for some wildflowers mutually adapted to specialist pollinators. Spectacular examples include orchids such as Angraecum sesquipedale, dependant on a particular hawk moth, morgan’s sphinx. Yucca species provide other examples, being fertilised in elaborate ecological interactions with particular species of yucca moths.

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