Pollinator Facts

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Pollinator Fun Facts


  • About 1 out of every 3 bites of food exist because of our precious pollinators.  
  • Pollinators support biodiversity! There is a correlation between plant diversity and pollinator diversity.
  • Insects (such as bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, flies, beetles) are the most common pollinators, but as many as 1,500 species of vertebrates such as birds and mammals serve as pollinators too.  These include hummingbirds, perching birds, fruit bats, opossums, lemurs and even a lizard (the gecko).
  • In the U.S., pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually. 
  • The Honey Opossum is an important pollinator in Australia for the flowers of the eucalyptus tree.
  • The white ruffled lemur is the world’s largest pollinator. 
  • One native leaf cutter bee can do the pollination job of 20 non-native bees.
  • The tiny chocolate midge is the ONLY pollinator who serves the cacao plant.


Monarch Fun Facts


  • It wasn't until 1975 that Fred Urquhart and a group of citizen scientists discovered that monarchs from the northern U.S. and southern Canada were migrating to Mexico. 
  • Adult monarch butterflies live for about 4 weeks. Migrating monarchs live for 5-9 months.
  • It takes about 2-3 generations for monarchs to make it north to Iowa.  There will be about 2-3 generations here over the summer, and it takes 1 generation to fly back to Mexico for the winter.
  • Monarchs that migrate to Mexico from Neal Smith Refuge will travel about 1890 miles to their overwintering spot.
  • Milkweed is the only plant that adult female monarchs will lay their eggs on, and it is the only plant that the caterpillars are able to eat.
  • Female Monarchs can lay 300-500 eggs in their lifetime
  • Butterflies taste with their feet!  When monarchs land on milkweed, they use sensory organs on their feet and heads to let them know it is a milkweed.
  • There are over 100 species of Asclepias, or milkweed, in North America.
  • There are 17 Asclepias, or milkweed, species native to Iowa
  • Male monarchs have dots on their hind wings and females don’t.  This androconial patch is made of specialized scales which contain pheromones used in courtship by some butterflies in the Nymphalidae family.


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