Evolution of Animal Pollination

  title={Evolution of Animal Pollination},
  author={Jeff Ollerton and Emma Coulthard},
  pages={808 - 809}
Animals pollinated specialized seed plants even before flowering plants evolved. The evolution of animal pollination in flowering plants (angiosperms) and the resulting coevolution and diversification of both angiosperms and major pollinator groups during the late Cretaceous (99.6 to 65.5 million years ago) is one of the classic stories of evolutionary biology (1). On page 840 of this issue, however, Ren et al. (2) challenge aspects of this story and hint at a much more complex ecological… 

Animal-mediated fertilization in bryophytes - parallel or precursor to insect pollination in angiosperms?

A ’Bryophyte precursor hypothesis of plant pollination’ is suggested stating that animal-mediated fertilization in mosses and insect pollination in seed plants is historically linked by homologous or analogous evolution of structures responsible for attraction and reward aimed at a pool of fertilization vectors originally co-evolved with bryophytes and subsequently co-opted by seed plants.

The Pollination of Mid Mesozoic Seed Plants and the Early History of Long-proboscid Insects1,2,3

Evidence for pollination includes the entomophilous structure and size of pollen found on insect and plant contact surfaces and in insect guts, nutritional levels of modern pollination drop fluids similar to angiosperm nectar for supporting metabolically high activity levels of aerially active insects, and plant-host outcrossing.

Long-Proboscid Flies as Pollinators of Cretaceous Gymnosperms

Review: Nectar biology: From molecules to ecosystems.

Adaptation of male reproductive structures to wind pollination in gymnosperms: Cones and pollen grains

These characteristics showed a surprising variation between different gymnosperm species in improving pollination success, and how the morphological characteristics of male cones and pollen facilitate pollination was analyzed.

High niche diversity in Mesozoic pollinating lacewings

  • Qing LiuXiumei Lu Bo Wang
  • Environmental Science
    Nature Communications
  • 2018
An assemblage of Mesozoic kalligrammatid lacewings from amber and compression fossils is presented, highlighting diversity in traits associated with pollination, chemical communication and defense against predators.

Ancient pinnate leaf mimesis among lacewings

Evidence of pinnate leaf mimesis is reported in two lacewings (Neuroptera) from the Middle Jurassic, representing a 165-million-year-old specialization between insects and contemporaneous gymnosperms of the Cycadales or Bennettitales.

A study on the pollination of the sarsaparilla flower.

This study examined the pollination rate of Aralia nudicaulis, commonly known as the sarsaparilla flower, an angiosperm without specialized pollinators, and found that pollination rates in the morning were significantly lower than pollination Rates in the afternoon and evening, refuting the hypothesis thatPollination rates are higher in more open areas.

Unrecognized coral species diversity masks differences in functional ecology

It is shown that what has been considered a single species in the eastern tropical Pacific, Porites lobata, includes a morphologically similar yet ecologically distinct species, Porite evermanni, which dominates in areas where triggerfish prey on bioeroding mussels living within the coral skeleton, thereby generating asexual coral fragments.



Early steps of angiosperm–pollinator coevolution

Data is provided to show that early fossil angiosperms were insect-pollinated and quantify the presences of more specialized pollination modes during the mid-Cretaceous angiosperm diversification.

Pollination biology of basal angiosperms (ANITA grade).

It is hypothesized that large flowers in Nymphaeaceae are the result of the interaction of heat, floral odors, and colored tepals to trap insects to increase fitness.

Natural history of pollination

The methods by which pollen reaches the female flower, enabling fertilization and seed production to take place, include some of the most varied and fascinating mechanisms in the natural world.

Plant-pollinator interactions: from specialization to generalization.

"Plant-Pollinator Interactions" portrays the intimate relationships of pollination over time and space and reveals patterns of interactions from individual to community levels, showing how these patterns change at different spatial and temporal scales.

Flower-associated brachycera flies as fossil evidence for jurassic angiosperm origins

  • Ren
  • Geography
  • 1998
Functional morphology and comparison with modern confamilial taxa show that the orthorrhaphous Brachycera were some of the most ancient pollinators, and imply that angiosperms originated during the Late Jurassic and were represented by at least two floral types.

A Probable Pollination Mode Before Angiosperms: Eurasian, Long-Proboscid Scorpionflies

The presence of scorpionfly taxa suggests that siphonate proboscides fed on gymnosperm pollination drops and likely engaged in pollination mutualisms with gymnosperms during the mid-Mesozoic, long before the similar and independent coevolution of nectar-feeding flies, moths, and beetles on angiosperms.

Dating the origin of the Orchidaceae from a fossil orchid with its pollinator

An exquisitely preserved orchid pollinarium attached to the mesoscutellum of an extinct stingless bee recovered from Miocene amber in the Dominican Republic, that is 15–20 million years old, constitutes both the first unambiguous fossil of Orchidaceae and an unprecedented direct fossil observation of a plant–pollinator interaction.

Nectar and pollination drops: how different are they?

Proteomic studies have revealed the presence of common functional classes of proteins such as invertases and defence-related proteins in nectar (floral and extrafloral) and pollination drops, which will contribute to the study of plant reproduction and evolution.


It is found that in each community a core group of long-tubed plant species might together be involved in diffuse coevolution with the fly, and in poorly matched populations, the imbalance in armament is too great to allow reciprocal selection to act, and these species might instead experience one-sided selection that leads to convergence with the core species.

Generalist flowers and phytophagous beetles in two tropical canopy trees : resources for multitudes

Overall, beetle abundance patterns on flowers of the two trees are similar in terms of phytophagous beetle subfamily dominance, but there are differences however, significantly more leaf beetles were collected per hour on T. guianensis than on N. umbrosa.