Mutualism Between Flowers and Honeybees

February 28, 2023



Photographer: Menashe Davidson‏    

Summary Author: Menashe Davidson   

In mutualistic interactions, both species benefit. Ecologists believe that almost every species on Earth is involved directly or indirectly in one or more of these interactions. They’re crucial to the reproduction and survival of many plants and animals.

While walking on a sunny day mid-winter’s day a few weeks back, in the Iris Argaman Nature Reserve, in Israel, I was fascinated to follow the mutualism between wildflowers and honeybees. The flower serves as an “advertisement” and usually offers the pollinator an incentive to visit. The pollinators of course get nectar and pollen from the flower, and the flower gets a carrier for its pollen grains.

In general, bees are most attracted to flowers that are open and easy to access. The top photo shows a honeybee collecting nectar from the bottom of the yellow flower of Oxalis. The bottom photo shows an Anemone coronaria, a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean region. In this case the central mound consists of tightly packed pistils in the center, with a crown-like ring of stamens, offering easy access to the visiting pollinators. Click here to see a video of the Iris Argaman Nature Reserve. Photos taken on January 15, 2023.


Argaman Nature Reserve, Israel Coordinates: 32.28169, 34.84123

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