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Butterflies and the Process of Pollination

Butterflies are a very interesting insect. They go through a transformation, from egg to larva, to pupa, then finally adult. The Florida Museum says, "Metamorphosis is a series of major changes in an animal’s body form as it moves through its life cycle." Butterflies are essential to helping plants reproduce, through a process called pollination. This process helps plants to grow and thrive.

The Forest Service says, "Pollination is the act of transferring pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. The goal of every living organism, including plants, is to create offspring for the next generation. One of the ways that plants can produce offspring is by making seeds. Seeds contain the genetic information to produce a new plant." When butterflies become adults, they seek out pollen for nutrition, and as they go to other flowers, they transfer pollen from their original flowers. This process helps plants to reproduce in varied climates and environments.

Plants can either be self-pollinating, or cross-pollinating. Self-pollinating is when the plant can fertilize itself, and cross-pollination is when it needs a pollinator or the wind to help it pollinate. The Forest Service says, "Of the 1,400 crop plants grown around the world, i.e., those that produce all of our food and plant-based industrial products, almost 80% require pollination by animals." Without butterflies and other animals pollinating plants, humans would not be able to exist.

In the end, butterflies and plants enjoy a symbiotic relationship. The butterfly feeds on nectar from the flower, and the butterfly helps it pollinate. Flowers and plants depend on butterflies to reproduce and grow. Butterflies are a very important part of the ecosystem.

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