Consider the Butterfly

Most of us enjoy seeing a butterfly flitting among wildflowers or passing through a garden.  We may not stop to think, though, that the seemingly carefree butterfly is on a life-or-death mission.  Every butterfly must gather nutrients, either from flower nectar or other sources, to support itself long enough to find a mate, and if it is a female, to also produce and lay eggs.

Glaucopsyche_lygdamus_nectaring.JPG (78957 bytes)Butterflies, while carrying out this mission,  pollinate the flowers they visit.  Pollen grains from one flower, say a daisy, stick to the butterfly.  When the butterfly visits a second daisy, the pollen from the first flower is transferred to the second.  In this way, the flowers can carry out their mission, which is to produce more of their own kind.  While flowers can be pollinated by other sources, such as by other insects or by the wind, many flowers are structured to be most efficiently pollinated by the visiting butterfly.