Biodiversity

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PLANTS AND ANIMALS

Most human consider insects as pests except for those who study them and those who admires them. "Insects are commonly regarded as pests include those that are parasitic (mosquitoes, lice, bedbugs), transmit diseases (mosquitos, flies), damage structures (termites), or destroy agricultural goods (locusts, weevils). Many entomologists are involved in various forms of pest control, often using insecticides, but more and more relying on methods of biocontrol"(2).

Most human cannot see the purpose of insects in our lives and many insect are so benefitial to us and our environment (1). Some of the insects help in pollinating flowering plants (for example wasps, bees, butterflies, ants) through the process called cross-pollination where they carry pollen from one flower to another flower. "Pollination is the transfer of pollen grains to the plant-ovule" (1). "An exchange between plants that need to reproduce and pollinators receive nectar and pollen. Population of pollinator insects has been declined and numbers of species of insects are now cultured primarily for pollination management in order to have enough pollinators" (1).

"Insects also produce useful substances such as honey, wax, lacquer and silk. Honeybees have been cultured by humans for honey, although contracting for crop pollination is becoming more significant for beekeepers". Fly larvae (maggots) were used to treat wounds, to prevent or stop gangrene, because they only eat dead flesh. "Insect larvae of various kinds are also commonly used as fishing bait". Still some humans cannot see the purpose od insects in our lives.

There are different types of animals which help with pollination (carrying pollen grains-male- to other plants-female plant) (3). There is pollination by insects like bees which is called entomophily (4) and pollination by animals such as birds or bats called zoophily(5).

Bees goes to a flower searching for nectar and at the same time they help the flowers by carrying the pollen grain for cross pollination while they are not aware. After the bees have collected nectar they convert it to honey. "The bee collects the pollen by rubbing against the anther (found on top of the filament and it is a male organ-stamen) (6). The pollen is collected on the hind legs, in dense hairs referred to as a pollen basket" (6). After bees has got all the nectar it needed from one flower it goes to the other one, while transffering pollen grain.

Bees gets most of their energy from the nectar which is provided by plants, even the herbivorous animals depend mostly on plants for energy since they only eat plants. "When bees are rearing large quantities of brood (7) (young of honeybees collectively), bees will deliberately gather pollen to meet the nutritional needs of the brood" (7). "A honeybee that is gathering pollen is up to ten times more efficient as a pollinator than one that primarily which is gathering nectar and which transfer pollen unawarely" (3).

"Good pollination management seeks to have bees in a "building" state during the bloom period of the crop, thus requiring them to gather pollen, and making them more efficient pollinators. Thus the management techniques of a beekeeper providing pollination service are different from, and somewhat incompatible with, those of a beekeeper who is trying to produce honey" (1).

Plants provide bees with nectar and bees transfer pollen grain from one plant to the other. Some animals lay their eggs in some flowers then the flower will act as a shelter for those eggs. This shows a mutual relationship between plants and animals because both species benefit from each other. Some animals depend mostly on plants for food for example herbivores (cows, rabbits), they only eat plants so without plants they would die. Even to humans plants mostly provide us with oxygen and we provide the with carbon dioxide. Some plants like trees provide shelter to humans by minimizing the amount of wind and soil erosion during rainy days. According to me there is nothing that is useless in this world everything is here for a purpose mostly we as people we underestimate the power of plants while we are not thinking about what are the plants doing for us.

References

1. Wikipedia contributors. Pollination [internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia; 2006 May 4, 20:22 UTC [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollination
2. Wikipedia contributors. Insects [internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia; 2006 May 8, 08:09 UTC [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insects
3. Wikipedia contributors. Types of pollination [internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia; 2006 May 4, 20:22 UTC [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollination#Types_of_pollination
4. Wikipedia contributors. Entomophily [internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia; 2006 May 5, 10:13 UTC [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entomophily
5. Wikipedia contributors. Zoophily [internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia; 2006 May 3, 09:26 UTC [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoophily
6. Wikipedia contributors. Anthers [internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia; 2006 Apr 28, 13:40May UTC [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthers
7. Wikipedia contributors. Brood [internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia; 2005 Aug 25, 02:08 UTC [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brood_(honeybee)

Lethabo Mosomane
CSIR
Pretoria
0001
Tel: 27 12 841 2133
Fax: 27 12 842 3676
mail: lmosomane@csir.co.za
http://lmosomane.blogspot.com/

1 Comments:

  • Your use of quotation marks has improved but the first sentences of both your first and your second paragraph are copied word for word from Wikipedia without quotes. This is plagiarism.

    By Blogger Gwen, at May 18, 2006 3:06 PM  

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