insects as pollinators

Les at Les at
Wed May 29 13:56:49 CDT 1996

>Dear Taxacomers:
>We are preparing a teachers manual on insects for our live gallery and need a
>reasonable ball park estimate of what percent of vascular plant species,
>worldwide, depend on insect pollinators. Does anyone out there have some good

     This is the kind of query with which our interactive DELTA `Angiosperm
Families' and other DELTA packages are designed to assist. They are
available via gopher or anonymous ftp from
 (directory: /pub/delta)
and via WWW from

      In the present instance (by contrast with some other aspects, such as
photosynthetic pathways, which are covered comprehensively), shortage of
encoded data limit the extent and quality of the assistance available.
Nevertheless, application of the Intkey program in information retrieval
mode reveals that of the 200 families (out of the total of 569) for which
pollination data have been entered, 147 are said to be (at least sometimes)
entomophilous, 62 anemophilous, 23 ornithophilous, ....... 10 pollinated via
water, ..... etc.  Continued pursuit of the data using Intkey indicates
(e.g.) which of the families recorded are supposedly exclusively or mainly
entomophilous; and the family lists obtained may easily be directly
cross-referenced with (e.g.) numbers of species and genera per family,
family geographical distributions, floral structure, corolla colours, etc.,
etc. There is also some breakdown into pollinating insect Orders, very
incomplete but sufficient at least to retrieve some examples.
     If the aim is to exemplify for students forms of flowers in relation to
modes of pollination, the extensive illustrations incorporated in the Intkey
data should help. Apart from the Intkey component, further relevant
information will sometimes be available in the full family descriptions,
which are provided as a separate part of the package.

      To improve the family descriptions in this and other respects, we
would be pleased to receive contributions of comparative data on ecology,
anatomy, physiology, etc., suitable for inclusion (to be appropriately
acknowledged in the package).
Les Watson
78 Vancouver Street
WA 6330                                      Phone: +61 98 41 6181
Australia                                    E-Mail: lesw at

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