We all know how important bees are to the food system, but they’re not the only important pollinators. Here are 10 creatures essential to pollination (read: they keep us alive).
Despite their tiny size, bees are fierce. They pack one heck of a sting, yes… But, the world would be very different (and in big trouble) without these little pollinators.
In fact, the buzzing insects are to thank for much of the world’s food crops. Pollination—the act of transferring pollen from the male part of a plant to the female part so that it can reproduce—is incredibly important to the overall health of the world’s food system.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, insects such as bees pollinate roughly 35 percent of the world’s food crops—including fruits and vegetables.
They’re also responsible for pollinating about 75 percent of the world’s flowering plants. (A single bee colony can pollinate about 300 million flowers in just one day!)
But bees aren’t the only pollinators. A number of other insects partake in the act of pollination, too. Even certain mammals take part (you won’t believe #9, above).
In fact, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there are more than 100,000 different animal species that play a role in pollinating all of the world’s plants. Here are some of the world’s most unique pollinators.