The deep, bell-shaped flowers of the saguaro cactus use a strong melony scent to tell the bats that pollinate them they’re open for business, but they hide the nectar the bats want to lick up deep inside their base. If the bat wants to eat, it has to shove its face into the dozens of pollen-covered anthers inside the…
OK, technically pollen isn’t sperm–it’s the tissue that makes sperm. But there’s sure a lot of it caught in this bee’s hair. There’s so much packed on her back legs that it makes them look like puffy pantaloons.
New research suggests surprisingly few bee species are responsible for pollinating the world’s crops. Globally, a mere 2% of wild bees pollinate 80% of bee-pollinated crops. Monetarily, that equates to $3,000/hectare, or billions of dollars annually, a figure roughly equal to the value of honey bees.
A rare parasitic flower from South Africa puts out an entrancing smell to get local mammals to pollinate it. For the first time, these scents have been described, and we're starting to understand just why flowers smell so good.