Ever wondered how the world looks through the eyes of a pollinator? Pollinators have an incredible ability to see pollen in ways that are invisible to the human eye. Keep reading to learn more about these incredible creatures!


What are Pollinators?

Pollinators are some of the most important creatures on our planet! Pollinators are insects or other critters that convey pollen to a plant, allowing for fertilization. The most well-known pollinators are bees, but wasps, moths, flies, beetles, butterflies, birds, and even small mammals like bats are some of the pollinators that live in our world.

Pollinator Vision

Unlike humans, many pollinators have the power to see ultraviolet (UV) light. This special skill opens up a whole new visual field. Flowers have evolved to take advantage of this by developing UV patterns on their petals, known as “nectar guides,” which act as a landing strip for pollinators. These patterns are invisible to humans but shine brightly to pollinators, directing them to the source of pollen to ensure that pollen is collected and transferred. For example, sunflowers have a bullseye-like pattern that directs bees to the central disc where most of the pollen is located.

Color Recognition in Pollinators

Bees, a primary group of pollinators, see color differently than humans. Their world is mostly shades of blue, green, and ultraviolet. This means that Bees are excellent at finding blue and purple flowers. Red flowers however typically appear black in their eyes, unless they reflect UV light which then turns that flower into a bright beacon for those tiny pollinators.

Why Pollinators Matter

Pollinators are an essential part of biodiversity. Over 80% of the world’s flowers require a pollinator to reproduce. This interaction affects the food supply chain, with pollinators being responsible for one out of every three bites of food we consume. Understanding how pollinators see and interact with flowers can help us protect these important creatures.

Learn More About Pollinators at the Butterfly Biosphere

Utah is home to dozens of pollinators that directly affect our ecosystem. We aren’t called the Bee State for nothing! Head over to the Butterfly Biosphere, the only insectarium in Utah, to meet and even interact with some of our pollinators.

Learn More Here