Nectar Robbing

Nectar robbing refers to the act by an animal, typically an insect or a bird, of removing nectar from a flowering plant, most often by drilling a hole in the corolla. In this way animals without morphological adaptations required by the structure of the flower may access nectar. Without entering the flower, the animal may avoid touching the reproductive parts, and circumvent the mutualistic requirement of the plant-pollinator relationship. It has been suggested that flower visitors which neither damage nor pollinate the plant be called nectar thieves to distinguish them from nectar robbers. The term floral larcenist has been proposed to include both nectar robbers and nectar thieves.

Nectar robbers include certain species of carpenter bees, bumblebees, Trigona bees, Yellow Jackets, ants, hummingbirds, and birds of the genus Diglossa. Even though bats act as important pollinators in the tropics, their ability to practice nectar robbery has not been studied. Nevertheless, exploitation of nectar by a frugivorous bat has once been recorded in a study of better-known robbers of a tropical tree Mabea fistulifera. One of the most peculiar examples of a nectar robbing species is the squirrel Tamiops swinhoei hainanus which exploits ginger plant Alpinia kwangsiensis.

Read more about Nectar Robbing:  History, Varying Effects of Nectar Robbing On Plant Fitness, Evolutionary Implications, Do Flowering Plants Protect Themselves Against Nectar Robbers?

Famous quotes containing the words nectar and/or robbing:

    ‘Tis said as Cupid danced among,
    The God he down the nectar flung,
    Which on the white rose being shed,
    Made it forever after red.
    Arthur Wimperis (1874–1953)

    I wish most sincerely there was not a slave in this province. It always appeared a most iniquitous scheme to me—to fight ourselves for what we are daily robbing and plundering from those who have as good a right to freedom as we have.
    Abigail Adams (1744–1818)