Name:
Location: pretoria, gauteng, South Africa

i completed my Bsc (microbiology physiology) degree in 2005 at University of Limpopo, now im doing my honns in ecological informatics at university of the western cape.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PLANTS AND ANIMALS

Many insects are considered pests by humans. Insects 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).

Many insects are beneficial to the environment and to humans. Some help in pollinating flowering plants (for example wasps, bees, butterflies, ants). 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 formerly used to treat wounds to prevent or stop gangrene, as they would only consume dead flesh. This treatment is finding modern usage in some hospitals. Insect larvae of various kinds are also commonly used as fishing bait.

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 travel from flower to flower, collecting nectar (which is later converted to honey), and in the process they pick up pollen grains. 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. As the bee flies from flower to flower, the pollen grains are transferred onto the stigma of the female flower part.

Nectar provides the energy for bee nutrition; pollen provides the protein. 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. A honeybee that is deliberately gathering pollen is up to ten times more efficient as a pollinator than one that is primarily gathering nectar and only unintentionally transferring pollen(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.

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.

References

1. Wikipedia contributors. Council of Science Editors [internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia; 2006 May 4, 20:22 PTA [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollination
2. Wikipedia contributors. Council of Science Editors [internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia; 2006 May 8, 08:09 PTA [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insects
3. Wikipedia contributors. Council of Science Editors [internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia; 2006 May 4, 20:22 PTA [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollination#Types_of_pollination
4. Wikipedia contributors. Council of Science Editors [internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia; 2006 May 5, 10:13 PTA [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entomophily
5. Wikipedia contributors. Council of Science Editors [internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia; 2006 May 3, 09:26 PTA [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoophily
6. Wikipedia contributors. Council of Science Editors [internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia; 2006 Apr 28, 13:40May PTA [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthers
7. Wikipedia contributors. Council of Science Editors [internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia; 2005 Aug 25, 02:08 PTA [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brood_%28honeybee%29

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

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