July 29, 2022
Bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds and other nectar-seeking wildlife are often heralded for the vital role they play in pollinating flowering plants on land.
Now, there’s a new creature to add to the very important pollinator list, one that helps plants flourish in a surprising place: underwater.
Scientists have discovered that a small, bug-like crustacean called Idotea balthica can pollinate red seaweed, a type of algae often found growing in tide pools. The findings, published Thursday in the journal Science, add to a small but growing body of evidence that raises questions about whether animal-mediated pollination may have first evolved underwater, instead of on land. It’s also possible that pollination evolved in separate instances, underwater and on land.
Continue reading this article at the Smithsonian Magazine website.