Butterflies and Pollination

Butterflies and Pollination


Thailand. My tent at The Four Seasons Elephant Camp was named The Butterfly and Beetle tent (each of the 15 tents had a different theme) so I was surrounded by butterflies, beetles and elephants. Quite the combo. And I was amazed at the number of different butterflies and moths in the framed mount shown in the photo.

So what role do butterflies play in our world? It turns out big, besides being beautiful to watch. After bees, they are the world’s second largest pollinator. Something I have never really thought about much. But without pollination, the human race doesn’t survive. Wow.

Of the 1400 crop plants grown in the world, 80% require pollination to reproduce. Pollination, simply put, is the transfer of pollen in and between flowers and is necessary for the plant to produce fruit and seeds. So most of the day to day things you consume need pollination. Think coffee, apples, spices, chocolate, potatoes, almonds and even tequila.

And sadly, as with so many things, butterfly populations are declining worldwide as a result of loss of habitat, increased use of pesticides (especially with genetically engineered corn) and climate change. So next time you see a butterfly, appreciate it for all it contributes to your well being. Maybe plant some flowers that attract and feed them. Learn how you can help them. And just enjoy their beauty. I know I will!