Global Action on Pollination Services for Sustainable Agriculture

Pollination glossary

Glossaire de la pollinisation (en anglais)



The hindmost of an insects three body segments, in which most vital organs are located. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


Not involving living organisms. (Richards 1997)

abiotic pollination

The movement of pollen grains from plant to plant by abiotic vectors. Wind pollination is the most common form of abiotic pollination, although water is used as a vector in a few rare cases by aquatic plants. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


In flowers, an imperfectly developed ovule or fruit that later aborts and falls off the plant. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Dropping off of organs, e.g. leaves, flowers, fruits. (Richards 1997); a normal separation of leaves or fruits from the plant body by disintegration of specialized parenchyma cells. (Kearns and Inouye 1993).

abscission zone

The area at the base of a leaf, fruit, or other organ where a layer of specialized parenchyma cells forms and eventually disintegrates, resulting in the loss of the organ. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

abundance-area relationship

An ecological relationship that implies population density of an animal will increase with an increase in the size of the inhabited habitat.

acaricide (=Miticide)

A substance that kills mites and ticks (Acari). Acaricides may be synthetic chemicals, natural chemicals, or biological agents. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

acetolysis technique

Standard pollen treatment technique used by pollen biologists which removes unnecessary organic matter from the pollen grain to enable easier identification by leaving the exine intact.


A small, one-seeded fruit with dry, thin walls that does not open (e.g. strawberry pip).


Flowers on an inflorescence opening from base to apex. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Radially symmetrical (rotate), of a flower. (Richards 1997)

adaptive radiation

The rapid elaboration of a biological line into various niches as in the case of the Galapagos finches, Hawaiian honeycreepers, or bees of the genus Perdita. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Fusion of different organs in the same flower, as when carpels and stamens unite to form a column. (Bernhardt 1999)

adventitious embryony

A form of agamospermy in which embryos are budded directly from the nucellus without an intervening embryo-sac. (Richards 1997)

Africanized honeybee

Apis mellifera scutellata, a race of highly defensive honeybee originating from Africa and now spread through other parts of the world.


Without sex, asexual. (Richards 1997)


Microspecies or segregate species of low taxonomic amplitude used in agamic complexes. (Richards 1997)


The production of seeds without sexual reproduction through sporophyte budding or from a diploid embryo sac. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The conglomeration and precipitation of molecules of a protein. (Richards 1997)

aggregate fruit

A fruit consisting of the many separate carpels of one flower.


(Of insect nests). The collective nests of insects (e.g. ground-nesting Hymenoptera) which are distributed in a clumped pattern within a certain area; insects will establish nests in aggregation for a number of reasons, e.g. defence purposes, resource availability, natal nest site fidelity etc. (Potts & Willmer 1998)

agricultural extension

A service whereby knowledge about agricultural practices, technologies, tools, and innovations is conveyed to farmers and rural people (Peter Kevan, 2017)

agri-environment scheme

A financial incentive that compensates farmers who manage their agricultural activities specifically to promote biodiversity. (Albrecht et al. 2007)

agricultural habitat

Habitat that is predominantly under cultivation or other agricultural land use.

agricultural intensification

The process by which land becomes increasingly used for agricultural production. Agricultural intensification can apply to high-input (machinery, fuel, chemicals) farming as well as to lower input traditional to organic practices. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

agricultural landscape

A landscape consisting of predominantly agricultural land uses; a region or area which is known for agricultural practices.


At its most narrow, agroecology refers to the study of purely ecological phenomena within the crop field, such as predator/prey relations, or crop/weed competition. Agroecology often incorporates ideas about a more environmentally and socially sensitive approach to agriculture, one that focuses not only on production, but also on the ecological sustainability of the productive system and goes well beyond the limits of the agricultural field. (Hecht 1987)

agroecological agriculture

an approach that aims to regenerate agro-ecosystem properties (soil health, water storage, pest and disease resistance) by incorporating benefits of functionally interacting biodiversity leading to sustainable, resilient systems. Methods are knowledge, management and labour intensive rather than input intensive, and are often rooted in traditional farming practices and/or are co-developed by farmers and scientists working together. (Peter Kevan, 2017)


An ecosystem being used for agriculture.

agroforestry system

An agricultural system where arable farming is mixed with trees.

Alexander's stain

A pollen-viability test which distinguishes aborted from non-aborted pollen grains. (FAO 1995)

alfalfa leafcutter bee

Megachile rotundata, a specialist pollinator of alfalfa of Eurasian origin. The bee is easily managed in straws, boards, and styrofoam nesting blocks. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

alien invasive species

Alien species that becomes established in natural or semi-natural ecosystems or habitat, are agents of change, and threaten native biological diversity. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

alien species

A species, subspecies, or lower taxon occurring outside of its natural range (past or present) and dispersal potential (i.e. outside the range it occupies naturally or could not occupy without direct or indirect introduction or care by humans) and includes any part, gametes or propagule of such species that might survive and subsequently reproduce. Also known as non-native, non-indigenous, foreign, or exotic species. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

alkali bee

Native North American bee of the genus Nomia. One species (Nomia melanderi) has been managed as an alfalfa pollinator.

Allee effect

A biological phenomenon which is characterised by a positive correlation between population density and per capita growth rate; the larger the population, the more successful reproduction and survival will be for each individual.


One of two or more forms that a gene may take. (Richards 1997)


(Of pollen). Inhibition of pollen germination in sympatric species. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Fertilization between pollen and ovules of different flowers. (Richards 1997)


The phenomenon by which biological populations are physically isolated by an extrinsic barrier and evolve intrinsic (genetic) reproductive isolation, such that if the barrier breaks down, individuals of the populations can no longer interbreed.


The condition of flowers lacking morphological adaptations to direct pollinators, such that they can easily be used by short-tongued insects. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


An organism having more than a diploid sets of chromosomes, including some nonhomologous chromosomes, derived from two or more parents. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The condition of flower-visiting insects that are only slightly adapted for pollination, lacking both structural adaptations and flower constancy. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

alpha diversity

A measure of the biodiversity in a particular area or community.

alternate bearing

Fruit bearing on a plant, which fluctuates from high to low in successive years (e.g. kiwi fruit and some apples) (Roubik 2018)

alternative pollinator

Pollinators other than the commercially used honey bee; usually refers to native insect species not kept specifically for pollination.


The fossilized resin from various trees, especially the neotropical legume genus Hymenaea, but also from certain conifers. Often contains inclusions including insects and plant debris. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Bearing male and female parts. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A catkin; an elongate axis bearing apetalous, unisexual flowers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A description of the odor of fly-pollinated flowers that smell like sweat, feces, urine, or rotten meat. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

andrenid bee

A member of one of the largest families of bees, the Andrenidae, which are dispersed worldwide but more diverse in north temperate re gions, especially on flowers blooming in spring. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A family of solitary or communal ground-nesting bees. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A group of plants with both androecious and hermaphroditic individuals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Where male and hermaphrodite genets coexist. (Roubik 1995)


Possessing only staminate flowers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The male unit or stamens as a unit of the flower. (Roubik 1995)


Maleness. (Richards 1997)


Cosexual, but bearing both hermaphroditic and staminate flowers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Where a hermaphrodite bears male and hermaphrodite flowers. (Roubik 1995)


Dispersal by wind. (Richards 1997)


Wind pollination. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Literally wind-loving. The pollination of certain flowering plants and gyn-inosperms by the wind, an abiotic form of pollination. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A flowering plant, i.e. belonging to thes Angiospermae. A major group of seed plants in which seeds develop within a closed ovary; the ovules are surrounded by tissue, embryo sacs, double fertilization, and usually highly developed vascular systems. (Richards 1997)

angular dispersion

The direction of movements of a group of insects originating from a source (e.g. a nest).


Sexual fusion between gametes of unequal size. (Richards 1997)


The departure of ratios of genet morphs in population from the expectation of unity (one to one, e.g. of males and females, pins and thrums). (Richards 1997)


Constricting ring at the top of a floral tube. (Richards 1997)


A pair of mobile appendages on the head of an insect used to sense touch and taste.

antepetalous stamens

Those stamens that are opposite the petals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

antesepalous stamens

Those stamens that are opposite the sepals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The study of all aspects of the interactions between flower-visiting (anthophilous) animals and the flowers they visit, as well as to the pollination biology of those flowers that are pollinated by wind or water (Baker and Baker 1973, p. 243)


The floral organ that forms male spores (microspores), or pollen; normally consists of two lobes (thecae), each with two pollen sacs (microsporangia) in which pollen development takes place. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The opening of a flower; usually used to denote the stage when the flower first donates pollen, or is receptive to pollen, whichever is the earlier. (Richards 1997)


Group of pigments that most commonly give flowers pinkish purplish or blueish tints. (Richards 1997)


Where male and hermaphrodite genets coexist. (Richards 1997)


Flower-loving; refers to animals that visit flowers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

anthophorid bee

A member of the largest and most diverse bee family Anthophoridae, including many ground-nesting solitary bees and parasitic cuckoo bees. This family is now part of the Apidae.

anthropogenic assets

Built-up infrastructure, health facilities, or knowledge – including indigenous and local knowledge systems and technical or scientific knowledge – as well as formal and non-formal education, technology (both physical objects and procedures), and financial assets. Anthropogenic assets have been highlighted to emphasize that a good quality of life is achieved by a co-production of benefits between nature and societies (Peter Kevan, 2017)

anthropogenic barrier

A barrier to animal or plant movement or gene flow which is man-made (e.g. roads, railway lines etc.).


Nucleus (usually one of three) at the chalazal end of the embryo-sac. (Richards 1997)


The scientific study of honeybees and their management for in creased honey production, beeswax, package bees, queen bees, or commer cial rental for pollination services worldwide. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

apid bee

The common name for any bee in the honeybee family, Apidae, which now includes orchid bees, bumblebees, stingless bees, true honey bees, and the numerous digger bees. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Scientificsification of all bees.


Bearing separate (unfused) carpels. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Autonomous development of a nucleus apart from the egg nucleus into an embryo in an agamosperm. (Richards 1997)


The superfamilysification of bees.


Non-sexual reproduction of a plant, including both forms in which no seeds are produced (vegetative reproduction) and those in which seeds are produced (agamospermy). (Roubik 1995)


(Of flower colors). Advanced. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

aposematic coloration

Bright, conspicuous markings on stinging, poisonous, or distasteful animals, which predators learn to avoid. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


Exhibiting a type of agamospermy in which the embryo sac is usually derived from the nucellus instead of the normal archesporium. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The elimination of spore formation from the life cycle with the formation of the gametophyte from vegetative tissues rather than from a spore.

apparent reabsorption rate

Difference between apparent secretion rate in undisturbed flowers and gross secretion rate (see reabsorption). Apparent reabsorption rate should approach influx rate (Brquez and Corbet 1991, p. 370). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

apparent secretion rate

Rate of change of solute content of nectar in undisturbed, unvisited flowers (see gross secretion rate) (Brquez and Corbet 1991, p. 370). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

approach herkogamy

A hypothesized stage in the evolution of reciprocal herkogamy (Barrett 1990), during which stigmas are positioned above and separated from anthers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


adj. Pertaining to land that can be farmed (Peter Kevan, 2017)


Female sex organ, containing the egg, in the gametophyte generation of the Bryophytes, Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms. (Richards 1997)


The tissue within the nucellus of a young ovule which usually gives rise to the embryo-sac mother cell, female meiosis and the embryo-sac. (Richards 1997)


The network or covering of a seed from the point of seed attachment. (Roubik 1995)


The phylum which consists of the invertebrates such as insects, spiders, crustaceans etc. Arthropod = generic term for insects.


Capable of reproducing itself without the need of another organism to provide fertilisation.

assortative mating

Where mating occurs between gametes of the same morph more frequently than would be expected by a random mating system (panmixis). (Richards 1997)

assortative pollination

Mating amongst individuals with similar characteristics (e.g. same flower colour, height, time of flowering etc.).

asymmetric interaction

Plant-pollinator interactions with asymmetric outcomes for the partners (i.e. one partner receives disproportionately positive benefits from the interaction).


Phenomena produced by flower blossoms to establish blossom-visitor relationship (e.g. nectar, oil, colour, odour, etc.).


Self-pollination within a flower (e.g., by corolla abscission, curling of the stigma into the anthers, etc.). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Self-fertilisation within a flower without the need of a pollinator.


Nectarless plants mimic rewarding flowers on different plants of the same species (e.g., in dioecious plants where flowers are similar but only one sex offers a reward; populations or individuals of nectarless varieties) (Dafni 1984).


Fusion of nuclei within the embryo-sac. (Roubik 1995)


Self-pollination within a flower resulting from the position of anthers and stigmas, or the change in position of these structures as the flower ages. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

axile (placentation)

Arrangement of the ovules down the central walls of septae in a fused ovary. (Richards 1997)


background extinction rate

The standard historical rate of extinction; used as a basis to understand humans role in modern extinction rates .


The method of surrounding a flower with a mesh or paper bag to preventing pollen from other flowers from reaching the stigma of the bagged flower; can be used as a technique for determining if a plant has self fertile flowers to prevent floral visitation, or to prevent pollen flow in transgenic crops.

Bakers law

Law stating that colonizing species tend to be self-fertile. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

balanced breeding system

A combination of outcrossing and selfing such that outcrossing maintains genetic variability and selfing produces local adaptations. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

banner petal

The upper petals of a papilionaceous flower. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


(Of flowering). Flowers on an inflorescence opening from apex to base. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

Batesian mimicry

A phenomenon where an organism imitates a similar organism, usually with the benefit being experienced only by the mimic (e.g. a non-toxic butterfly has similar wing markings to a toxic species so predators will not attempt to prey on it)..


Any insect of the superfamily Apoidea; generic term for honeybees and any other solitary or social bee species.

bee assemblage

The collective populations of bee species in a particular area and consist of all bee species potentially available as pollinators for a given plant species.

bee bed

An innovative technique for bee ranching involving the establishment of artificial bee nesting beds with upwelling of water and an alkaline crust for the propagation of alkali bees, Nomia melanderi for alfalfa pollination. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

bee bread

A mixture of pollen and honey (also plant oils and gland secretions in some species) which comprises the food of bee larvae.

bee community

The collective populations of all bee species found in a defined area and consists of all bee species potentially available as pollinators for a given plant population in that area.

bee dance

A series of movements performed by honeybee foragers returned to their nest to communicate the location of food resources (nectar/pollen) to the other bees in the nest; the dance varies between species and races.

bee diversity

a general term that can refer to the number of bee species found in a particular area, or any other diversity measure such as a diversity index which may include information on the abundance of each species as well as the number of species. This is most commonly a spatially explicit measure.

bee fauna

The composition of bee species that live in a certain area or service a particular group of flowers or plant community - this provides no information on the abundance of each species, it is just a list of species.

bee fly

A fly of the family Bombyliidae. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

bee gardening

The modern practice of setting out domiciles consisting of drilled boards, hollow straws, and stems and flowering plants to attract native bees to home gardens and public parklands as pollinators of crops and native plants. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

bee guild

The collective group of bee species which utilise similar resources in a particular area and fill similar ecological roles.


beekeeping. The intentional stewardship of honeybees and stingless bees in hives made of various materials for the harvest of honey, beeswax, and sometimes brood by various cultures. Contrast this husbandry with the earlier honey hunting from which it derived. Beekeeping is at least 5,000 years old. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Wax secreted by bees for constructing honeycombs within nests.


An insect from the order Coleoptera characterised by the front wings hardened to a horny sheath.

beneficial insect

Any insect which performs a beneficial service to agriculture such as pollination or pest control.


A fleshy fruit with skin-like covering, with one to many seeds but no stone, and developed from a single pistil (e.g. banana, tomato etc.).

beta diversity

The amount of turnover in species composition from one location to another.


(Of stigmas). Two-pronged. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


(Of a corolla). Two-lipped, as in Scrophulariaceae and Lamiaceae. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A pollen grain containing a tube nucleus and a generative nucleus. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


chemical that substantially debilitates or interrupts life cycle, reproduction or poisons a fungus, mite,

insect, animal, plant or other living organism – includes miticide, acaricide, fungicide, herbicide, insecticide, germicide, bacteriacide, etc. (Roubik, 2018)

biocultural diversity

The total variety exhibited by the world’s natural and cultural systems, explicitly considers the idea that culture and nature are mutually constituting, and denotes three concepts: first, diversity of life includes human cultures and languages; second, links exist between biodiversity and cultural diversity; and last, these links have developed over time through mutual adaptation and possibly co-evolution. (Peter Kevan, 2017)


The total spectrum of living variability from gene to species to higher taxonomic groupings and including the ecological interactions, populations, and communities in which they live. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

biodiversity index

A measure of species diversity expressed as a ratio between numbers of species and "importance values" (numbers, biomass etc.) of individuals.

biodiversity loss

The reduction of any aspect of biological diversity (i.e., species richness, or diversity) is lost in a particular area through death (including extinction), destruction or manual removal; can refer to many scales, from global extinctions to population extinctions resulting in decreased total diversity at the same scale.


The study of the geographical distribution of organisms across continents and ocean basins. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


1. An environmental factor which is an indicator of an organism's well-being or abundance, subsequently used to describe the quality of the ecosystem it is found in; 2. A particular organism that is used as such an indicator.


The collection of animals, plants, and other organisms occurring to gether naturally in a certain geographic region. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Regarding the actions or consequences of living species (e.g. insect, bird etc.).

biotic index

Indicator species used as a guide to the level of a particular abiotic factor in an ecosystem (e.g. the presence of certain invertebrate groups in a fresh water system can be given a score to indicate the water's quality).

biotic interaction

The association between living organisms in a particular ecosystem (e.g. mutualism, carnivory, herbivory etc.).


A plant which has both male and female reproductive organs.


The complete pollination unit of the plant. A blossom can be either an inflorescence, a flower or part of a flower.

blossom intelligence

A pollinator's ability to perceive, discriminate between and remember the characteristics of blossoms.

body size

A general measurement of how large the body of a pollinator is. For insects, this is generally measured as a body length and incorporates the length of the head, thorax and abdomen. For birds and mammals, body size can be measured as a mass or length.


The culture and management of bumblebee colonies (Bombus species) to provide pollination services- as in their recent development for the buzz pollination of tomatoes in glasshouses in Europe. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A large family of files known as bee flies that are parasitic or hyperparasitic as larvae and flower-visiting as adults. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A small leaf or scalelike structure near the base of a flower. (Roubik 1995)

breeding system

All aspects of sex expression in plants that affect the relative genetic contributions to the next generation of individuals within a species. (Wyatt 1983); mating system. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

Brix scale

A scale for measuring sugar concentration; some refractometers are calibrated in Brix % scale, which shows the number of grams of sucrose contained in 100 grams of solution. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

brood cell

A chamber in a bee nest in which a larva develops. For most bees, the brood cell contains a single egg and is sealed by the female bee after provisioning. Bumble bees lay several eggs in one cell and may provision it gradually as the larvae grow. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)

brood parasite

organism feeding on and potentially killing a host organism in its egg, larval or pupal stage. (Roubik, 2018)

brood-site mutualism

A co-evolved mutual development relationship between pollinator and plant species e.g. figs and gall-wasps. (Proctor et al. 1996)


Member of the subphylum Bryophyte, a moss (music) or liverwort (Hepaticae). (Richards 1997)


Plantlet usually sprouting from the flower stalk or base of a mother plant, a form of vegetative reproduction. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A member of the genus Bombus; large, hairy social bees found almost worldwide, especially important in high-altitude and high-latitude pollinator communities. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Also known as galagos, this group of seven mammal species is in the family Galagidae from Africa. They are small, agile, arboreal prosimians. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A usually brightly-coloured and patterned nectar-feeding insect in the order Lepidoptera with distinctive wing shape; an efficient pollinator for some plants.

butterfly gardening

The intentional planting and arrangement of specialized floral gardens with diverse nectar-producing and larval food plants to at tract colorful butterflies. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

buzz pollination

A pollination mechanism involving vibration of flowers (usually with poricidal anthers) by bees as a way of obtaining pollen; the vibrations are produced by shivering of the flight muscles and are often audible to an observer. (Kearns and Inouye 1993), Thus, buzz pollination is a specialized form of pollen harvesting and pollination used by many bees (but not honeybees) to extract pollen from the pored anthers of many flowering plantsfor example, blueberries, cranberries, eg plants, tomatoes, and deadly nightshades. About 8 percent of the worlds flowering plants exhibit this form of pollination, sometimes called sonication.



A technique for determining pollinating agent by surrounding plants with a screen cage to prevent floral visitation by large pollinators.


A family of Diptera called blowflies; in the muscoid group. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A complex carbohydrate, usually formed as a wounding reaction, and also found in sieve elements of phloem, pollen mother cell walls, germinating pollen grains, and within pollen tubes in the form of localized deposits known as callose plugs. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

calyx (plural calyxes, calyces)

Sepals or outer whorl of the perianth. (Roubik 1995)


Bell-shaped (refers to corolla of a flower) (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Form of an ovule in which the micropile and chalaza are placed laterally to the placenta. (Richards 1997)

cantharophily (cantharogamy)

The floral syndrome involving pollination by beetles. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


An inflorescence of flowers or florets crowded together on a receptacle; e.g., flower heads of Asteraceae. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Pollination of figs with certain tiny wasps. (Roubik 1995)


A dry, dehiscent seed pod from a flower with a compound pistil. (Roubik 1995)


The keel (two united lower petals) of a papilionaceous flower (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

carinate (of flowers)

Characteristic of flowers; being like a keel, bearing a ridge (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Stigma, style, and ovary, female floral organ (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

carpenter bee

Subfamily of bees (Xylocopinae), bees that nest in wood or plant stems by excavating tunnels, similar in appearance to bumblebees (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

cascading extinctions

The premise that one or several extinctions, especially of key organisms in trophic levels, can lead to a rapid sequence of extinctions of other organisms ecologically linked to the first. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Within a colony of social insects, a particular type of individual, which performs specific tasks (e.g. worker caste).


The larval stage of butterflies and moths. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


Spike or pendulous type of inflorescence made up of flowers of only one sex. (Roubik 1995)


The sticky, elastic base to an orchid pollinium, formed from the modified connective. (Richards 1997)


Production of flowers directly on the stem from older parts of the trunk of a tree. Best known in cocoa trees but also exhibited by a variety of tropical woody plants. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

cavity-nesting bee

A bee of any species (mostly solitary bees) which constructs nest cells in pre-existing cavities such as tree hollows.


colony collapse disorder, reaction in honey bees to sublethal doses of imidacloprid and clothianidin neonicitinoid pesticide, resulting in dwindling colony size and death during winter; also refers to abrupt disappearance of most adult bees from hive, from multiple or unknown causes. (Roubik, 2018)


Joined hexagonal containers inside bee or wasp nests in which young insects grow and in which bees store food.

central place foraging

A model used to describe the foraging behaviour of animals that return to a central place (e.g. nest) Suzuki et al. 2007


(Of flowering). Flowers opening from the outside to the inside of inflorescence. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


1. Differential growth rates of pollen tubes in a stigma when they bear different but compatible S alleles; 2. A phenomenon in dioecious species with heteromorphic sex chromosomes, in which the sex ratio of progeny depends on the number of pollen grains deposited on the stigma. An excess of female offspring when many pollen grains are deposited has been attributed to the competitive superiority of X-bearing pollen (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

certified seed

progeny of foundation, registered or certified seed, for example Sweet Gold® (a registered tomato cultivar)

approved by official agency (see also "cultivar"). (Roubik, 2018)


The basal part of an ovule where it is attached to a stalk (funiculus). (Roubik 1995)


The entry of the pollen tube through the chalaza of the ovule. (Roubik 1995)


fungus Ascosphaera that infects and kills immature bees in open or closed brood cells (for honey bees, this is A. apis; A. aggregata attacks leafcutting bees). (Roubik, 2018)


Opening of the perianth that exposes the stigma to pollen from external sources (as opposed to cleistogamy); thus flowers are pollinated when open. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A pollinator that sneaks in the back door- as in the case of nectar-robbing carpenter bees that may slit a tubular corolla to gain access without picking up pollen or effecting pollination. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

chemically induced habitat fragmentation

The unseen degradation of habitats, especially agricultural or disturbed secondary habitats, by the wide spread use of agricultural chemicals and other biocides. To most observers, fragmented habitats may appear intact and even healthy, but are not. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The floral syndrome involving pollination by bats. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The floral syndrome involving pollination by bats. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

choripetalous (polypetalous)

Having separate (unfused) petals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The pupal stage of butterflies and moths. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


Having flowers that are self-fertilized without opening (close-fertilization). (Roubik 1995)


A bee species that does not make its own nest, but instead lays its eggs in the nests of another species so that its offspring can eat the food provisions intended for the host larvae. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


(Of stigmas). Occurs when the stigma is overcrowded by incompatible pollen grains, which may reduce seed set through inhibiting germination or tube growth by compatible grains.


A plant's ability to spontaneous self-clone itself, offspring therefore being produced without sexual recombination of genetic material.


One or more individuals obtained from a single parent by vegetative reproduction, i.e. clone plants are ramets that belong to the same genet. (Roubik 1995)


The process of evolution in which two or more species contribute reciprocally to the forces of natural selection. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


Fusion of organs in the same ring, as when petals form a funnel or bell. Also known as connation. (Bernhardt 1999)


A heteromorphic condition in the family Plumbaginaceae characterized by short stigmatic papillae. (Richards 1997)


A silk case, made by a caterpillar before it pupates, in which most moths and some butterflies spend their time as a chrysalis. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


The idea in evolutionary ecology that certain mutualistic organisms have directed or redirected each others evolutionary trajectory. Good examples of truly reciprocal coevolution are difficult to find. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


1. Individuals of similar age in a population. 2. Pollinators of different species exhibiting similar flower choice. (Richards 1997)


The order of beetles; insects with four wings, the front pair leathery or hard and covering the membranaceous hind wings; generally with chewing mouthparts; holometabolous; largest insect order. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

colletid bee

Any of a large family of bees (Colletidae), especially diverse in Australia and other desert habitats, also known as plasterer or membrane bees. They are characterized by having a short, forked proboscis or tongue. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A family of bees known as plasterer or yellow-faced bees. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A group of organisms of the same species or group living or growing together.


(Of pollen grains). An elliptical aperture. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A structure formed when one or more stamens are fused to a carpel or pistil in the same flower, resulting in a modified style that also bears the pollinia (a gynostemium) (most common in the orchid, milkweed, and trigger plant families). (Bernhardt 1999) (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The flat sheets inside bee or wasp nests made up of hundreds of cells joined together.

community composition

The assortment of species, their numbers, proportions and hierarchy within a particular community.


Capable of producing fertile offspring between plants. (Roubik 1995)

competing bloom

Flowers of another species growing within or adjacent to the crop which compete for pollinator attention. (FAO 1995)


The interaction between two individuals (either of the same species or different species) at the same trophic level within an ecosystem, which affects the growth and survival of each species.

complete flower

A flower containing four different organs (sepals, petals, stamens, and carpels). (Bernhardt 1999)

compound eye

The eye of some arthropod species (e.g. flies) which is made up of many individual light-receptive elements (eyes) each containing a lens, transmitting apparatus and retinal cells.


Thin-walled fungal spores, sometimes transferred in a manner similar to pollen by insects, thereby effecting pollination (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Fusion of organs in the same ring, as when petals form a funnel or bell. Also known as coalescence. (Bernhardt 1999)

connectance (in plant-pollinator networks (q.v.))

The proportion of possible links between species that actually occur (or have been observed to occur). (Peter Kevan, 2017)


The spatial condition of land cover types which allows organisms to move across a landscape or between habitat patches; patterns of habitat in the landscape which reduce the effect of isolation.


The maintenance of the resources, environmental qualities, and/or species diversity of a particular area; usually refers to management of a natural system under pressure from human use of or impact on the area or species in need of protection.

conservation headland

A margin or strip of land adjacent to crop land that is not treated with chemicals or other agricultural practices to promote biodiversity.

conspecific pollen

Pollen from the same species.

conventional agricultural (Farming)

Farming methods that rely on high inputs of machinery, fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals, including fertilizers and pesticides. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) may also be used. Despite the term “conventional”, such agricultural methods have evolved only since the industrial revolution (19th century) and became widespread after the mid-20th century. It is also referred to sometimes as “industrial agriculture”. (Peter Kevan, 2017)


Essentially a relationship between service provider and service user that draws on the knowledge, ability and resources of both to develop solutions to issues that are claimed to be successful, sustainable and cost-effective, changing the balance of power from the professional towards the service user. The approach is used in work with both individuals and communities. (Peter Kevan, 2017)


Pollen basket; scooped-out depression covered by stiff inward-curving hairs on bee hind leg used for carrying pollen. (Kearns and Inouye 1993) and (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


Refers to the corbiculum (pollen basket) on the hind legs of female honeybees, bumblebees, stingless bees, and orchid bees. In these social bees the pollen is mixed with nectar and packed into the concavities for transport home. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


All the petals of a flower. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


(Of flowers). Tubular or flaring perianth or staminal outgrowth; petaloid appendage as in a daffodil (Radford et al. 1974, p. 103)


The part of the pollinarium, or pair of pollinia of an Asclepias (milkweed) flower, that connects the two pollinia. Attached to the two pollinia via translator arms. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A convex or flat-topped or convex cluster of flowers that open from the outside toward the center; a contracted raceme. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Only one sexual genotype in the population with individuals capable of functioning as males, females, or both. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Active at dusk. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The part of the digestive system that some insects use to store food; in bees it is called the honey stomach.

crop fidelity

proportion of bees from a hive that forage only on the target crop (Roubik, 2018)

crop pollination

The process of pollinating (fertilising) crop species to ensure yields are produced.

cropping system

The pattern of crops produced on a given piece of land, or sequence in which the crops are cultivated on pieces of land over a fixed period, and their interaction with farm resources and other farm enterprises. (Peter Kevan, 2017)


The union of two cultivars of the same species. (Roubik 1995)


Capable of being fertilized with pollen of a different variety. (Roubik 1995)


The transfer of pollen from the anthers of one plant to a recipient stigma on another plant that may result in fertilization and fruit set. Also known as outcrossing or xenogamy. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


(Of flowers). Cross-shaped; with four petals in a cross as in the Brassicaceae. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Where an organism or organ is difficult to perceive or see. (Richards 1997)

cryptic dioecy

A condition in which there are functionally male and functionally female plants, but plants do not appear to be dioecious. E.g., 1. cases of androdioecy where there appear to be male and hermaphroditic plants, but the hermaphroditic plants are male-sterile or 2. male and female plants appear to be hermaphroditic, differing only in morphological characters like style length (example. dioecious species of Solanum). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

cryptic self-fertility

The phenomenon in which pollination with loads of pure self-pollen rarely or never results in fruit production, but pollination using mixtures of self- and cross-pollen produces fruits with considerable numbers of selfed seeds. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

cryptic self-incompatibility

A condition in which self-pollen tubes grow more slowly than outcross tubes and do not generally fertilize ovules when outcross pollen is present. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

cuckoo bee

A cleptoparasite that lays its eggs in the nests of solitary bees. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


A floral hood; the nectarial hood on Asclepias flowers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A hollow, jointed stalk as in grasses. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A group of cultivated plants which, when reproduced sexually or asexually, retain their distinguishing characteristics (but are not necessarily a distinctive botanical species). (Roubik 1995);


The superficial proteinaceous and waxy layer secreted by the epidermis which covers aerial plant organs (see pellicle). (Richards 1997)

cuticle (of stigma)

(Of stigma). A detached covering (stigma membrane) over the surface of the stigma, which must be ruptured before pollination can take place. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Esterase enzymes that break down the waxy cuticle, especially of the stigmatic papillae. (Richards 1997)


Inflorescence with a terminal flower that opens first, followed by flowers in subtending axillary bracts. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The one-seeded fruit of Compositae (Asteraceae) which commonly bears a feathery pappus which is derived from the calyx and promotes dispersal by wind. (Richards 1997)



deceit pollination

flowers offering no       food or other reward receive pollinator visits by resembling rewarding flowers. (Roubik, 2018)


(Of flowers). Attracting pollinators either by appearing to offer rewards that are not actually provided (e.g., resembling flowers that offer pollen or nectar, resembling ovipositon sites, mates, etc.) (Dafni 1984).


With alternating pairs placed along an axis at right angles to adjacent pairs. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The process of removing the fauna from a region either intentionally- as in the biogeographic experiments with mangrove islets in Florida- or through the indirect actions of humans. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


(Of anthers). To open to release pollen. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A fruit, seed pod or anther which opens when ripe or matured.

density dependence

Condition under which population growth rate is regulated by factors which are themselves controlled by the size of the population; the effectiveness of these factors increase as population size increases. (Allaby 1998)

density dependent factor

A factor which causes a certain type of mortality that is correlated with population density (Murray 1994)


Process of removing male reproductive parts from plants to prevent gene flow; used primary in the production of hybrid seed maize or corn.

determinate infloresence

Inflorescence with a terminal flower that opens first, followed by subtending flowers, (Kearns and Inouye 1993). Flower production is fixed in number and flowering period (most perennial crops, esp. fruit). (FAO 1995)


A period during which growth or development is suspended and physiological activity is diminished, as in certain insects.


A simple cyme; an inflorescence with terminal flower and a pair of flowers with equal-length pedicels below. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A floral condition in which male and female parts mature at different times, preventing self-pollination (Roubik 1995)


Exhibiting bifid branching. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Bearing male and female flowers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

diclinous breeding systems

Gynodioecy, subdioecy, or dioecy. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Where not all genets in a population are hermaphroditic, such that males, females or both occur. (Roubik 1995)


Member of the class Dicotyledones which includes the majority of angiosperms, and is characterized by such features as two cotyledons in a seedling, vascular bundles in a ring, secondary thickening, broad, net-veined leaves and floral parts in fours and fives. (Richards 1997)


Bearing four stamens of two different lengths. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

diffuse coevolution

The process by which two or more species with an ecological association evolve more or less together to their mutual benefit. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Where the gametophyte generation, or the parthenogenetic development of it, has two sets of chromosomes. (Richards 1997)


The coexistence of two genetically controlled floral types in a population, e.g. pins and thrums (heterostyly), cobs and papillates, or males and females. (Richards 1997)


Having either male flowers or female flowers on each plant in the same population. (Bernhardt 1999)


The condition of having separate sexes and two kinds of genets, such that stamens or male parts and pistils or female parts are on different plants. (Roubik 1995)


A sexual system in which individual plants belonging to a single genetic class can vary their sexual mode from year to year depending on circumstances; gender choice. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Having a double set of chromosomes, usually one set from each parent. (Roubik 1995)


The development of an apomictic embryo sac by mitosis or modified meioses of the archesporial cells. (Roubik 1995)


The insect order that contains flies. The adults are characterized by having one pair of wings. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)

direct drivers (of environmental change)

Natural direct drivers are those that are not the result of human activities and are beyond human control (e.g., natural climate and weather patterns, geological events). Anthropogenic direct drivers result from human decisions. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

disassortative mating

Where mating occurs between gametes of different morphs more frequently than would be expected by a random mating system (panmixis). (Richards 1997)

disassortative pollination

Mating among dissimilar individuals; e.g., in a heterostylous system, pollination between different morphs. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

disk florets

Tubular, radially symmetrical flowers that make up the central region of composite flower heads (Asteraceae). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Movement or scatter from a source; as of pollen, seeds, or genes from the parental plant. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Spatial pattern, as of nectar or pollen resources. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


An organ of reproductive dispersal (see also propagule). (Richards 1997)


A disruption to the natural processes and condition of an ecosystem or community, either natural (e.g. severe weather, natural disaster) or man-made (e.g. vegetation clearing, chemical use etc.).


A floral polymorphism in which two morphs (pin and thrum) are produced, differing in the anatomy of their reproductive parts. Pin flowers have long styles and anthers placed low in the corolla tube; thrum flowers have short styles and anthers placed high in the corolla tube. Successful pollination in such species requires crossing of the two morphs. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

diversified farming

Any system that uses a mix of crops, trees, livestock and fish to ensure variety of food, fodder and fibre sources and complementary use of natural resources. The diversity of crops and animals helps to achieve stability of production and stability of ecosystem processes. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

diversified farming system

Emphasizes use of a suite of farming practices that promote agro-biodiversity across scales (from within the farm to the surrounding landscape), leading to the generation and regeneration of key ecosystem services (soil fertility, water use efficiency, pest and disease control, pollination, climate resilience, and others)

and reducing the need for off-farm inputs. (Peter Kevan, 2017)


The species richness and variation in a particular ecosystem or community.

diversity index

Any of a number of statistics used to measure biodiversity of a given ecosystem or area, usually considered important in the comparison of community structure and stability.

diversity-function relationship

Refers to the relationship between biological diversity and ecosystem function of a particular ecosystem, such as the rate of primary production or organic decomposition etc. (Swift et al. 2004)


A material modified, usually by drilling holes, to serve as a nest site for leafcutter and other bees under a pollination management scheme. The domiciles may be paper straws, drilled wooden boards, cardboard, styro foam, or pithy stems. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The male individual of honeybee colonies and other bee species, which is stingless and makes no honey.


A succulent or fleshy fruit having one seed enclosed in stony endocarp. (Roubik 1995)


An area of a petal that secretes scent. (Richards 1997)


An apparatus used to manually dust female flowers with pollen.


(Of flower visitors). Not adapted or counter-adapted for utilising flowers; visits are usually disorganised, destructive, and not related to the flower's structure, but may still cause pollination.



The study of interrelations of the diversity (q.v.) of life, the abundance (q.v.) of life forms, and the interplay of their activities within and between life forms and the physical environment. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

ecological pattern

The structure which results from the consistent interactions between organisms and their environment.

ecological process

A series of continuous actions or series of interactions acting within an ecosystem, with a specific end, and which contribute to the overall ecosystem function.

ecosystem function

The system properties and processes occurring within and between ecosystems (e.g. nutrient recycling).

ecological infrastructure

Ecological infrastructure refers to the natural or semi-natural structural elements of ecosystems and landscapes that are important in delivering ecosystem services. It is similar to ‘green infrastructure’, a term sometimes applied in a more urban context. The ecological infrastructure needed to support pollinators and improve pollination services includes patches of semi-natural habitats, including hedgerows, grassland and forest, distributed throughout productive agricultural landscapes, providing nesting and floral resources. Larger areas of natural habitat are also ecological infrastructure, although these do not directly support agricultural pollination in areas more than a few kilometres away from pollinator-dependent crops. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

ecologically intensified agriculture

Any system that maintains efficient production by optimal management of naturally occurring ecological functions and biodiversity. To be put in place, understandings are required of the relations between land use at different scales and the community composition of ecosystem service-providing organisms above- and below-ground, and the flow, stability, contribution to yield, and management costs of the multiple services delivered by these organisms. (Peter Kevan, 2017)


A community of living organisms (plants, animals, fungi and various microbes) in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (such as energy, air, water and mineral soil), all interacting as a system. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

ecosystem functioning

The flow of energy and materials through the arrangement of biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem. It includes many processes such as biomass production, trophic transfer through plants and animals, nutrient cycling, water dynamics and heat transfer. The concept is used here in the broad sense and it can thus be taken as being synonymous with ecosystem properties or ecosystem structure and function. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

ecosystem integrity

The state of wholeness or health of an ecosystem; to compromise an ecosystem's integrity is to disturb or degrade the ecosystem in some way to prevent it functioning as normal.

ecosystem service

Components of nature, directly enjoyed, consumed, or used to yield human well-being (Boyd and Banzhar 2006)

ecosystem structure

The combined biological, chemical and physical aspects of an ecosystem (Udy et al. 2006)

ectexine (ektexine)

The outer of two subdivisions constituting the exine (part of angiosperm pollen wall; composed of the sexine and nexine 1 layers). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

edge effect

The changes in species composition, ecosystem structure and function associated with overlaps and edges between distinct ecosystems or communities.

efflux rate

Rate of movement of solutes from plant into nectar. (Brquez and Corbet 1991)


An oil-secreting epithelial floral gland. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A gelatinous projection of the testa of the seed, attractive to ants. (Richards 1997)

elytra (singular elytron)

The hardened forewings of a beetle, which form a protective shell when closed across its back. In some flightless beetles, the elytra are fused and cannot be opened. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


The act of removing the anthers (male, pollen-producing parts of flower) usually for controlled pollination/breeding and experiments involving these aspects.


The young stage of a new genet within the seed, usually developed from an egg cell, which on germination will give rise to a seedling. (Richards 1997); a rudimentary organism. (Roubik 1995)

embryo rescue

Removal of a developing embryo to an artificial medium to complete its growth. This technique may be applied when normal development will not proceed after hybrid fertilizations or after overcoming other crossing barriers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

embryo sac

A variable arrangement of cells inside an unfertilized seed that accepts incoming sperm. Every sac must contain a minimum of one egg cell and two polar cells. (Bernhardt 1999)


The development of an embryo. (Roubik 1995)


The family of dance flies; flies that are generally predators on small insects and often visit flowers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Style deflected from the main floral axis. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

endangered species

A species that is in danger of (global) extinction. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A taxon (usually species) which is confined to a small geographical area. (Richards 1997)


The process whereby a species is restrict to a small geographic area. Endemic species therefore originated or evolved in that area. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The inner of two subdivisions constituting the exine (part of the angiosperm pollen wall). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


An inner cellulosic subdivision of the intine of a pollen grain. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Inner layer of the pericarp of a fruit.


The food reserve tissue in a seed, triploid in angiosperms, formed from a fertilizing sperm cell combining with the fused polar nuclei. (Roubik 1995)


Dispersed within animals, i.e. eaten (of a seed or fruit). (Richards 1997)

enhanced pollinator abundance

Artificially manipulated or managed populations of pollinators for the purpose of maximizing or enhancing crop pollination (FAO 1995).


The floral syndrome involving pollination by insects. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


One of the three parts of the fleshy lip of some orchid flowers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Having an inferior (buried) ovary because the ovary has fused to all outer rings of organs. (Bernhardt 1999)

epipetalous stamens

Stamens borne on the petals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A plant that grows upon another plant, especially in tropical rain forests. Epiphytes are not parasitic. Examples include many orchids, bromeliads, and ferns. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

episepalous stamens

Stamens borne on the sepals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Dispersed on the outside of animals (of a seed or fruit). (Richards 1997)


A seasonal expansion in the range of some butterflies caused by heavy population pressure in their core breeding areas. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


commercial horticultural product (2-chloroethyl phosphonic acid) that breaks down to release ethylene gas, which promotes uniform ripening in crops such as coffee, apples, figs, cherries, blueberries and pineapple (Roubik, 2018)


gas (C2H2) naturally produced by plants but sometimes applied commercially to induce flowering (pineapple) or increase production of female flowers (cucumber, pumpkin). (Roubik, 2018)

ethodynamic pollination

Cases in which insects load pollen onto certain parts of their bodies and then deposit it on a stigma; e.g., in some Yucca and Ficus species (Galil 1973). Contrast with topocentric pollination. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The study of animal behaviour. (Richards 1997)


Members of the Bee family Apidae in the tribe Euglossini; a type of brilliantly coloured, shiny metallic long-tongued bees found only in the New World tropics; also known as orchid bees. The males collect volatiles from orchids and other botanical sources and form leks. The females often visit flowers with pored anthers and sonicate them.


(Of flowers). Adapted for highly specialized pollinators. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The floral syndrome involving pollination by placental mammals. (Armstrong 1979)


(Uncommonly used). Flower-visiting insects that are completely adapted for pollination, with highly developed morphological adaptations and good flower constancy. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


In ecology, species evenness refers to the similarity of abundances of each species in an environment. It can be quantified by a diversity index as a dimension of biodiversity. (Peter Kevan, 2017)


The outer, heavily sculpted wall of a pollen grain, made of a natural plastic called sporopollenin. (Bernhardt 1999)


An outer pectic polysaccharide subdivision of the intine of a pollen grain. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The outermost layer of the fruit wall. (Roubik 1995)

exotic plant

A plant that has been introduced from a disconnected distant location to the area it is growing in (i.e. it is not a native).

exotic pollinator

A pollinator that is transported and introduced accidentally or deliberately by human beings outside its native distributional range. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

experimental hybridisation

Hybridization of crop species or cultivar to experimentally develop new varieties with particular traits.

explosive pollination

Pollination caused by the violent movement of anthers/stamen and style, alone or together with restraining petals, triggered by the visit of a pollinator. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

exrareproductive nectary

("extrafloral nectary") a nectary on part of the plant outside of the flower. (Roubik, 2018)


(Of anthers or stigmas). Protruding beyond the corolla (anthers: thrum flowers; stigmas: pin flowers). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The act or process of a taxon becoming extinct (dying out); extinction can refer to the death of all individuals of a species in a specific region or population or all individuals found anywhere on earth.

extinction debt

The future extinction of species due to events in the past, owing to a time lag between an effect such as habitat destruction or climate change, and the subsequent disappearance of species. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

extinction rate

The speed at which populations are diminishing; may refer to rate of extinction for a specified region, community or ecosystem; can refer to local extinction (populations going extinct) or complete extinction (complete disappearance of a species from earth).

extinction risk

The likelihood that a taxon will become extinct, assessed with information such as genetic information, environmental conditions, threats etc.

extinction threshold

The lowest density a species or population can reach before recovery is impossible, and extinction is inevitable.


The elimination of a population from a locality either by human activity or natural causes. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

extra reproductive nectary

A nectary on part of the plant outside of the flower. (Roubik 1995)

extraction time

The amount of time it takes a flower visitor to remove nectar (not including handling time). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

extrorse (of anthers)

Of an anther which dehisces away from the centre of the flower. (Richards 1997)



Partial, not complete, as in facultative agamospermy where some sexuality is also found. (Richards 1997)

facultative autogamy

The occurence of cross-pollination in normally self-pollinating species. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

facultative mutualism

A mutualistic (beneficial to both partners) relationship that is not obligate. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

facultative xenogamy

The breeding system of flowers that can be cross-pollinated if pollinators are present but that will self-pollinate in their absence. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A category of related organisms sharing recognizable features of common descent, and ranking below an order; a family is subdivided further into genera (sing. genus). The family name is always printed in regular type and capitalized, and often ends in -idae; for example, Megachilidae is the family that includes leafcutter bees and mason bees. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


The animal assemblage found living in a given region. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

faunal survey

Inventory carried out in a specified region to determine biodiversity factors such as diversity, density, distribution, richness etc. of animal species in the region.


Ability to reproduce, particularly as the production of seeds per genet. (Richards 1997)

female choice (in plants)

In plants. Any evolved mechanism in which 1. pollen is received from some pollen donors but not others in a population or 2. nonrandom fertilization occurs following pollen deposition (Stephenson and Bertin 1983).

female flower

A flower having a stigma. (Roubik 1995)

feral species

Any non-native animal or plant which has escaped or been released into the wild where it maintains itself without human assistance; usually refers to domesticated species but also includes exotic species released for a specific purpose (e.g. foxes released in Australia for hunting purposes).


irrigation with water combined with fertilizer. (Roubik, 2018)


Capable of bearing fruit. (Roubik 1995)


The penetration of the egg cell membrane by an individual sperm cell at the time of conception. In angiosperms, once fertilized, the combination of egg plus genetically identical sperm is known as a zygote, which fuses with a second male nucleus within the polar bodies to form the triploid endosperm.


Consistent visitation of flowers from a single plant species by an individual pollinator or colony during more than one foraging trip.

field boundary

The edge of a crop-field; usually of note when the edge abuts natural or semi-natural vegetation or a strip of uncultivated land.


A stalk that attaches the anthers to the receptacle. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


On an insects pair of antennae (feelers) this is the long wandlike group of segments that bear the sensory cells. They allow the bee, for example, to detect the presence of water molecules and odors in the air. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

flagelliflory (pendulifiory)

The production of flowers or inflorescences at the end of long, ropelike branches dangling down from the crown of a tree, presumably to facilitate access by pollinators. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The plants found together in a geographic region. See fauna for animals. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

floral calendar

A listing of flowering periods/times for a particular region, with information on the abundance and value to pollinators visiting the flowers blooming at any on time. (FAO 1995)

floral constancy

Persistence of a pollinator in looking for flowers of one species. (FAO 1995)

floral display

The number, type and arrangement of the open flowers on a plant in a certain period.

floral mimicry

1. Batesian. nonrewarding flower resembles flowers that offer rewards for pollinators; 2. Mullerian. different species share the same floral characters and both benefit by attracting the same pollinator. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

floral nectary (reproductive nectary)

A nectary within a flower. (Roubik 1995)

floral phenology

Timing of development and sequence of blooming for a given species or population of plants. (FAO 1995)

floral reward

A diverse array of attractants and often nutritious food present in flowers to invite and lengthen visits by floral visitors. The major substances used are pollen, nectar, floral oils, and food bodies. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

floral syndrome

A suite of characters (color, scent, petal morphology) generally recognized as attractants for a specifics of pollinators. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

floral visit

The act of an organism (e.g. insect) visiting a flower, usually for foraging purposes.

floral visitor

Any animal that visits a flower to find food, shelter, a mate or simply to rest. Such visitors may be, but are not necessarily, legitimate pollinators that effect pollination and subsequent fertilization of ovules. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A small flower; often used to describe flowers of composites, grasses, or clovers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A much shortened axis (the receptacle) bearing whorls of appendages concerned with reproduction sepals, petals, stamens and carpels. (Roubik 1995)

flower constancy

The tendency of flower visitors to visit a single species of flower during a foraging bout. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

flower fly

A fly of the family Syrphidae. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


An animal that visits flowers (a.k.a. anthophile) but is not necessarily a pollinator. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

flying fox

Large- up to 4-foot wingspan- member of the bat family Pteropodidae from the Old World tropics. Flying foxes are important pollinators and seed dispersers of rainforest plants. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

fodder stamen

Stamens that provide food in a form other than pollen to attract pollinators. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

food body

Specialised protein and lipid-rich plant tissue often found in primitive flowers such as western spicebush or annona. Food bodies serve as rewards and prolong the stay of beetle pollinators with such flowers. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

food sovereignty

Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. (Peter Kevan, 2017)


The acquisition of food by an organism through hunting or gathering; to moving through an environment in search of food.

foraging behaviour

The behavioural patterns exhibited by an organism while foraging.

foraging distance

The distance an animal will travel from their nest to forage (Greenleaf et al. 2007)

foraging ecology

The study of an organism in relation to its foraging characteristics such as behaviour, distance, resource use, patterns etc.

foraging habitat

The type of habitat preferred or utilised by an organism for foraging purposes.

foraging radius

The distance pollinators travel from their nesting site to forage.

foraging strategy

A plan of action (e.g. combinations of distance travelled, food sources visited, resources used etc.) used by an animal with the goal of acquiring food.

forest fragment

A small, isolated part of a forest that has been broken off from its original community by vegetation clearing.


The scientific family name for all ant species.


The act or process of fragmenting natural landscapes, by isolating patches of once connected habitat through clearing or other disturbance.

fragmented habitat

Habitat that has been isolated from other similar habitat by fragmentation processes.


Mature ovary of a plant, with a fleshy part of the carpel that develops with the seed to attract animals for aid in dispersal.

fruit set

The transition of a flower into a fruit after successful fertilisation (Mayfield 2008). Fruit is set by blossoms when the ovules are fertilized and the plant has enough energy and water researves to develop and ripen the fruit. Fruit set is often enhanced by pollination. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

functional gender

Operative sex, defined by the relative reproductive success derived from genes contributed through pollen versus ovules. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A substance that kills or inhibits the growth and development of fungi. Fungicides may be synthetic chemicals, natural chemicals, or biological agents. (Peter Kevan, 2017)



The outer lobes of the maxilla of an insect. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Specialized reproductive cells (usually haploid) which fuse in sexual reproduction to give the zygote, and thus the embryo; in seed plants the male gametes are sperm cells or antherozoids, and the female gamete is the egg cell nucleus. (Richards 1997)


(Of angiosperms). The pollen grain or embryo sac; the haploid structure carrying the gamete nucleus. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

gametophytic incompatibility

A multiallelic, single-locus control system in which cross pollination can only occur between pollen bearing one allele and female plants that do not bear that allele; the incompatibility reaction is based on the male gametophyte genotype. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

gamma diversity

A measure of biodiversity within all habitat types in a large area or geographical region.

gamosepalous calyx

With united sepals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Any member of the lizard family Geckonidae. A few instances have been recorded where geckos have acted as pollinators. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Interflower pollination on an individual plant. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

gender adjustment

A change in allocation to male or female investment in a system where there is variation along a broad continuum of sex investment ratios (Lloyd and Bawa 1984). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

gender choice

(Of plants). A change in sex expression in response to a plants circumstances in a system where there is a bimodal distribution of sex expression. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

gene flow

Transfer of genetic material through sexual reproduction or migration of propagules from one population to another of the same species, resulting in genetic interchange.

gene pool

The alleles for all genes with a freely interbreeding population of organisms drawn upon by plant breeders. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Refers to both a pollinator that visits many types and species of plants and a blossom that can be visited and pollinated by many types and species of animal.


A genetical individual, resulting from a single sexual fusion (zygote), consisting of one to many ramets, and usually genetically distinct from all other genets. (Richards 1997)

genetic drift

Non-adaptive change in gene frequencies in a population caused by chance (stochastic) fluctuations in small populations (Richards 1997)

genetic variation

The various genes and their relative frequencies within a population of organisms. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

genetically modified

A living organism whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated.


A set of homologous chromosomes; a diploid has two genomes. (Richards 1997)


The category which a taxonomic family is divided into, consisting of organisms with similar characteristics; the genus name is the first word of an organism's italicised scientific name; each gens is further divided into species.


Flower heads borne near ground level. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Pollinated by gravity transfer.


Development of plant from seed. (Roubik 1995)


The final segment of a bees tongue. In most long-tongued bees this is elongate and curled to form a tube. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)

gross secretion rate

Rate of change of solute content in nectar of repeatedly sampled flowers (see apparent secretion rate). Gross secretion rate should approach efflux rate if sampling of flowers affects only influx and not efflux (Brquez and Corbet 1991, p. 370). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Bees that make nests in the ground, usually by excavating a tunnel and a series of brood cells. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


The legless larva of an insect.

gullet flower

A flower with the sexual parts on the upper surface resulting in pollen deposition on the back or head of a pollinator. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


An ancient division of seed-bearing vascular plants from the Devonian period to recent times. They reproduce by clusters of cones (strobili) and are largely pollinated by the wind. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A group of plants with both hermaphroditic and gynoecious individuals; female morph is unisexual and male morph is ambisexual. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Where female and hermaphrodite genets coexist. (Roubik 1995)


Producing only or predominantly pistillate (female) flowers. (Roubik 1995)


The pistil or carpel; the female parts of the flower, including stigma, style and ovary. (Richards 1997)


Femaleness. (Richards 1997)


Femaleness. (Richards 1997)


A complex gynoecium on which are bone the anthers (as in Orchidaceae and Asclepiadaceae). (Richards 1997)



The natural environment in which an organism or community lives, characterised by its physical and biological properties.

habitat characteristics

The properties and characteristics which define the habitat of a specified organism.

habitat connectivity

The degree to which the landscape facilitates the movement of organisms (animals, plant reproductive structures, pollen, pollinators, spores, etc.) and other environmentally important resources (e.g., nutrients and moisture) between similar habitats. Connectivity is hampered by fragmentation (q.v.). (Peter Kevan, 2017)

habitat corridor

A linear band or series of stepping stones of undisturbed or secondary habitat connecting two protected regions- as in proposed park and wildlife preserve designs allowing animals to cross from one habitat to the other to find food and shelter. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

habitat creation

Creating a specified type of habitat on an area of land where there is no record of its previous existence, usually for conservation purposes; used in agricultural lands to encourage pollinator diversity (Morris et al. 2006)

habitat degradation

A general term describing the set of processes by which habitat quality is reduced. Habitat degradation may occur through natural processes (e.g. drought, heat, cold) and through human activities (forestry, agriculture, urbanization). (Peter Kevan, 2017)

habitat disturbance

Any activity or event which disrupts the natural qualities, species composition and functions of a specified habitat; can be human-induced or the result of local disturbances (landslides, tree falls, etc.) or large natural disasters.

habitat fragmentation

The division of natural ecosystems into patchwork habitats due to land conversion for agriculture, forestry, and urbanization. Such jigsaw pieces of land are eventually too small and too widely scattered to support the full complement of former species, many of which may then become extirpated. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

habitat management

(For wild pollinators). maintaining hedges, forests and natural vegetation within and around crops and minimising pesticide use to encourage wild pollinators to visit crop flowers. (FAO 1995).

habitat structure

The construction and attributes of a specified habitat, including variables such as canopy height and cover, ground cover, leaf litter, physical geography etc.


A family of small- to medium-sized ground-nesting bees. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

hand pollination

The human pollination of flowers, usually crop plants or those growing in research plots, with fresh or stored pollen. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

handling time

The amount of time it takes a flower visitor to land on a flower, determine whether it has nectar and/or pollen, and depart. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Having a single set of chromosomes from a single parent; usually refers to a genn cell or gamete. (Roubik 1995)


Movement of a plant in response to being touched. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The part of a Dipteran proboscis that lies distal to the maxillary palps. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Organs which filamentously penetrate other organs or genets for nourishment. (Richards 1997)


Large group of moths in the family Sphingidae with tongues (proboscides) often longer than their bodies. Often known as sphinx or sphingid moths, these energetic insects specialize on the rich nectar rewards within fragrant, usually white, tubular blossoms opening at night. The familiar tobacco/tomato hornworm is a member of this group. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The foremost of the three major body segments of insects. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


A row of closely planted and/or maintained bushes or trees that form a hedge; used as windbreaks or, increase local biodiversity, or as a noticeable barrier designed to separate properties or fields.


The bending or turning of plants (leaves and flowers) toward and with the movement of the sun, solar tracking. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


(Of flowers). Flowers that are adapted for pollination by insects with intermediate levels of specialization. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The order of true bugs; insects characterized by front wings that are leathery at the basal end and membranaceous at the distal end; hind wings are membranaceous, with piercing-sucking mouthparts. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


(Uncommonly used). Flower-visiting insects that are partially adapted genotypes for pollination, with weakly developed structural adaptations and an intermediate degree of flower constancy. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The watery fluid that carries nutrients through an insects body. Hemolymph is, in effect, insect blood, but circulates in open tissue spaces and is not restricted to veins and arteries. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


A substance that kills or inhibits the germination, growth and development of plants. Herbicides may be synthetic chemicals, natural chemicals, or biological agents. (Peter Kevan, 2017)


The state or condition of feeding on plants.

herkogamy /herkogamous

The spatial separation of male and female sex organs in a flower, so that the flower cannot self-pollinate. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


1. A flower with both stamens and pistils; 2. A plant with only perfect flowers, functionally both staminate and pistiilate; 3. A group of plants containing only hermaphroditic plants. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Possession of a dimorphic androecium, with two or more different types of anthers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A breeding system in which there are two mating types differing in their temporal pattern of development, such as both protandrous and protogynous individuals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A plant having two or more kinds of flowers. (Roubik 1995)

heterogeneous agricultural landscape

Agricultural landscapes composed of multiple crops, grown using a variety of cultivation practices as well as remnants of semi-natural vegetation and/or other land uses. Winfree et al. (2007) defined this as an agricultural landscape which contains at least 20% or greater non-crop habitat, thus promoting increased biodiversity levels.


The coexistence of two or three genetically controlled hermaphrodite floral types in a population, e.g. pins and thrums (heterostyly), cobs and papillates, and tristylous conditions (see di-allelic, dimorphism). (Richards 1997)


Vigour associated with outbreeding, hybridity, or levels of heterozygosity; the corollary of inbreeding depression. (Richards 1997)

heterospecific pollen

Pollen from another species.


heterostyly A genetically- determined condition in which stamens and styles come in two or three distinctive lengths, and individual flowers have stigmas and styles of different lengths - thus promoting crossing; e.g. distyly and tristyly. (Roubik 1995)


A measure of the genetic diversity (at the gene level) in a natural population. It takes into account the number of different gene loci (sites) on the chromosomes for different individuals. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A state of inactivity and dramatically reduced metabolic rate, also characterised by lower body temperature and slowed breathing; a strategy used by some animals, including adult insects, to survive winter cold. The equivalent for surviving summer heat is aestivation. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


A colony of bees or the shelter built for or by the bees.

hive beetle

Aethina tumida (Nitidulidae), pest of stingless bees and honey bees which consumes brood and pollen in bee nests. (Roubik, 2018)

home range

The geographic area in which an animal normally lives and confines most of its activity; depending on the species, the boundaries may sometimes be marked by scent and may also be defended.


No difference in the timing of anther dehiscence and stigma receptivity. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


When used in the ecological sense “homogenisation” means a decrease in the extent to which communities differ in species composition. (Peter Kevan, 2017)


With only one floral type in the population; used in contrast with heteromorphy with respect to derivatives of usually heteromorphic species. (Richards 1997)


A flower with anthers and stigmas at the same level; as opposed to a heterostylous condition. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

honey bee

Apis mellifera, the common domesticated social bee used for honey production and pollination. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

honey hunting

The ancient practice of raiding the colonies of social honey bees, or stingless bees, for honey, beeswax, and larvae for human food and other purposes. Depicted in cave paintings and petroglyphs in many parts of the world, honey hunting predates beekeeping. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

honey possum

A family of small mammals, the Tarsipedidae, found in south western Australia. They have a long protrusible tongue for feeding on nectar and pollen and are excellent pollinators. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A family of 23 species, the Drepanididae, of small tree-living perching birds found only in the forests of the Hawaiian Islands. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

host plant

A species of plant that an insect will eat. For butterflies, the female must lay her eggs on or close to it. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


An area which holds an unusually large number of species for the extent of the area; the diversity in these areas generally also contain very higher numbers of endemic and/or rare species.


A fly of the family Syrphidae. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

human disturbance

Any activity carried out by humans that results in a disruption to the natural values and functioning of a species, community, ecosystem etc.


All the members of the New World bird family known as the Trochilidae. Extreme specialization for feeding on nectar from tubular, often reddish blossoms is found in the New World family Trochilidae, with about 340 colorful species, many endangered. Many are migratory along nectar corridors, some may use a traplining feeding strategy, and some are important pollinators. Others are robbers or cheaters. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Reproduction between two related species that results in the formation of viable progeny usually intermediate in character between the parental types. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Pollination by fresh or salt water, as in the case of eelgrass. Since pollen is usually damaged by immersion in water, this form of pollination is rare. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The second largest order of insects. Includes such groups as sawflies, bees, ants, and solitary and social wasps. The name (membrane wing) refers to their two pairs of diaphanous wings. They have a complete metamorphosis extending from egg to larva through pupa and the resulting adult, or imago. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A floral tube or cup, formed by the fused bases of the sepals, petals, and stamens. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


One of the three parts of the fleshy lip of some orchid flowers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A flower in which the sepals, petals, and stamens are attached at a level below the ovary. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


illegitimate pollination

Pollination with the wrong pollen in a heterostylous pollination system; e.g., pollen from a long stamen deposited on a short style instead of a long one. (Kearns and Inouye 1993) 2. Pollination of a flower of the same self-incompatibility genotype as the pollen parent (see legitimate). (Richards 1997)


A fully developed adult insect. (Plural: imagines or imagos). (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


A unisexual flower containing either male organs (stamens) or female organs (carpels). (Bernhardt 1999)


Sexual reproduction that involves the interbreeding of closely related individual plants through self-pollination and often backcrosses. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

inbreeding coefficient

A quantitative estimate of the amount of inbreeding expressed in terms of the decrease in heterozygosity compared to a large, randomly mating population with the same allele frequencies. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

inbreeding depression

The loss of vigour and general health suffered by an organism that is the result of inbreeding (reproduction between two closely related individuals).

included style

(Of thrum flowers). A style that does not extend above the perianth. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A genetically based inability for cross-fertilization between two genotypes. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

incomplete flower

A flower containing fewer than four different kinds of organs. (Bernhardt 1999)


(Of anthers). Not opening at maturity along definite lines or by pores.


Continuing to grow after flowering starts. (Roubik 1995)

indeterminate bloomer

A plant in which flower production is irregular and inconstant, especially in the absence of pollination (most insect-pollinated annual crops, except cereals). (FAO 1995)

indeterminate inflorescence

Inflorescence with outer or lower flowers opening first. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

indicator species

A species whose presence, absence or relative health in a specified ecosystem is indicative of other species in that community of the overall health of that ecosystem; monitoring of the condition or behaviour of this species can determine how environmental changes may affect other species that are more difficult to study.

indigenous and local knowledge system (ILK)

A cumulative body of knowledge, practice and belief, evolving by adaptive processes and handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (including humans) with one another and with their environment. It is also referred to by other terms such as: Indigenous, local or traditional knowledge, traditional ecological/environmental knowledge, farmers’ or fishers’ knowledge, ethnoscience, indigenous science, folk science. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

inferior ovary

Stamens, petals, and sepals attach above the ovary. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A group of flowers borne on a stem in proximity to one another. (Richards 1997)

influx rate

Rate of movement of solutes from nectar into plant. (Brquez and Corbet 1991).


A cluster of fruits on a plant. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

infundibular (of flowers)

(Of flowers). Shaped like a funnel. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The inner cellulose wall of an angiosperm pollen gram (see exine). (Richards 1997)


An invertebrate animal that, as an adult, has three body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs attached to the thorax, and usually two pairs of wings. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)

insect community

The collective group of insect species that live in and utilise the resources of a particular area.

insect nest distribution

The distribution of insect nests in a particular area, usually either aggregated or regularly spaced.

insectary plants

Plants grown to attract beneficial insects (pollinators and predators of crop enemies) (Singh 2004)

insecticide spray

Any of a number of commonly available, usually organically synthesized, agrichemicals designed to kill insects that are economic pests. Most of them are non-target-specific, however, and kill or debilitate count less beneficial animals including pollinating bees and other insects. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A stage in the life of an insect between any two molts or changes (e.g. caterpillar).

insurance value of biodiversity

The value provided by the presence of native pollinators which can replace domesticated pollinators should domestic pollinators become insufficient and the need arise (Winfree et al. 2007)


The outer tissues of the ovule which form the testa in the seed. (Richards 1997)

interaction biodiversity

The diversity and evolution of the interactions between and coevolution of different species within an ecosystem. (Thompson 1996)


The thoracic area between the wings of an insect. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

interspecific gene flow

Gene flow between two related but different species.


Failure to set fruit when flowers are crossed with pollen of certain other cultivars of the same species. (Roubik 1995)


The inner of the two walls of a mature pollen grain. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

intraspecific gene flow

Gene flow within a species.

introduced pollinator

A pollinator species living outside its native distributional range (see Exotic pollinator). (Peter Kevan, 2017)

introduced species

Any species that has been introduced into an area where it did not evolve and did not live prior to introduction; usually refers to human-caused introduction events.


Where one species gains some genes from another species as a result of occasional hybridization across a partial breeding barrier. (Richards 1997)


Of an anther which dehisces towards the centre of a flower (see extrorse). (Richards 1997)


The spread or expansion of a species into a geographical area or ecosystem which it had not previously occupied; commonly refers to problem species.

invasive pollinator

A pollinator species that, once it has been introduced outside its native distributional range, has a tendency to spread without direct human assistance. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

invasive species

Any non-native species which has the ability to dominate an ecosystem it had not previously occupied, to the detriment of the original native species


The bracts around a flower cluster or head of a composite. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

IPM (Integrated Pest Management)

Is also known as Integrated Pest Control (IPC). It is a broadly-based approach that integrates various practices for economic control of pests (q.v.). IPM aims to suppress pest populations below the economic injury level (i.e., to below the level that the costs of further control outweigh the benefits derived). It involves careful consideration of all available pest control techniques and then integration of appropriate measures to discourage development of pest populations while keeping pesticides and other interventions to economically justifiable levels with minimal risks to human health and the environment. IPM emphasizes the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms. (Peter Kevan, 2017)


Of flowers. With monomorphic anthers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The process of an organism or ecosystem being separated from its original condition (e.g. habitat, community etc.).


With a number of stamens equal to the number of sepals or petals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


K - strategy

Ramets or genets which assign low energy allocations to reproduction, having approached the biomass carrying capacity of the environment. (Richards 1997)


A central ridge; in leguminous flowers, the two fused petals that enclose the stamens. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

keystone mutualist

A plant or animal whose importance in a community is inordinately tied to other plants and animals. When removed from a system, keystone mutualists can cause a cascade of linked extinctions. Fig trees in the neotropics are an example. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

keystone species

A species that is needed for the survival of other species in an ecosystem, and the loss of which would thus lead to the decline or disappearance of other species. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


labellum (plural labella)

1. Lip of a flower; on an orchid, what appears to be the lowermost petal (actually the upper petal morphologically, but the pedicel twists). 2. A fleshy pad at the end of a flys proboscis. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

land use

The way in which a certain area of land is used by humans (e.g. urban, agricultural, industrial etc.).

land use change

The process of changing the land use type of a particular area of land (e.g. from agricultural to residential), especially when the land has not previously been changed from its original use, or it has been under the original use for a very long time.


The varieties of crops which have been developed in an area and thus are tolerant of the area's environmental stresses, and can produce medium to high and consistent yields with low inputs in that specific area.


The fundamental attributes of a particular geographical region, including its land cover and land use patterns, biological and physical characteristics.

landscape context

The position and shape of patches in a fragmented landscape, with reference to the landscape as a whole (Johnson et al. 2007)

landscape ecology

The study of landscapes in relation to the ecology of their biological populations.

landscape indicator

Any element (quantitative or qualitative) of a landscape which can be used for ongoing assessment and measurement of the landscape's overall values.

landscape level

Refers to studies or activities carried out over an area within the range of several to tens of kilometres, and therefore encompassing different habitat types etc.

landscape physiognomy

The collective features associated with the physical layout of elements within the landscape (Dunning et al. 1992)


magnet species

A species of flower that is highly attractive to pollinators and can generate an increase in visitation to co-flowering species that are rarely visited by pollinators. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The learning of a rewarding floral patch by a bee. (Richards 1997)


Pollinated by invertebrate transfer.


Crop cultivar whose male plants/flowers do not produce viable pollen and therefore cannot fertilise.

managed pollinator

A kind of pollinator that is maintained by human beings through husbandry (e.g. some honey bees, some leafcutting and orchard bees, some bumble bees). The terms can be broadened to include wild pollinators (q.v.) that flourish by human encouragement. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

mason bee

The common name given to any bee in the genus Osmia and belonging to the leafcutter bee family. They construct nests with leaf pieces and mud. One species, O. lignaria, the blue orchard bee, is easily managed as an important pollinator of orchard crops. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

mass flowering crop

A crop in which all plants simultaneously bloom.


Active in the early morning (e.g., of bees). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

mating system

Those factors that determine the pattern of gene inheritance between generations; includes such parameters as self-incompatibility system; geitonogamy; herkogamy; dicliny; spatial distribution, etc.; breeding system. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


1.(landscape ecology) the dominant and most extensive patch type. 2. (conservation biology) areas that are not devoted primarily to nature conservation. 3. the areas of non-habitat surrounding native habitat patches of interest. (Lindenmayer & Franklin 2002)

matrix effect

The effect that the surrounding matrix has on habitat patches (i.e. through habitat quality, species' dispersal ability, population persistence etc.) (Dunford & Freemark 2005)

matrix population model

A mathematical, discrete-time structured model that divides the specified population into discrete stages, and describes the population's evolution through these stages across time. (Klanjscek et al. 2006)


One of the paired lower mouthparts of an insect. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

maxillary palp

A feeler on the maxilla of an insect. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Larval feces. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The family of leaf-cutter bees. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The female haploid generation or gametophyte. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A haploid female meiospore that produces the female gametophyte by mitosis. (Kearns and Inouye 1993); Gives rise to a female gametophyte. (Richards 1997)


Spore bearing leaf which bears megaspores; the ovary or carpel in flowering plants. (Richards 1997)


The reduction division of chromosomes, giving rise to two gametes, each with half the chromosomes of the parent cell. (Roubik 1995)


The ritualized keeping of stingless bees (meliponines), especially in a traditional context by Mayan Indians in parts of Mexico and Central America. These bees are usually kept in hollow logs and periodically raided to obtain honey and wax. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

meliponine bee

The stingless bees belonging to the genera Melipona and Trigona, which occur in both the New World and Old World tropics. They are highly social and live in populous perennial colonies. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The pollen analysis of honey; commonly used to determine geographical and floral origin of honey. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The floral syndrome involving pollination by bees. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

membrane bee

Any bee belonging to the family Colletidae. Also known as plasterer bees, membrane bees secrete a polyester membrane to line the cells of their underground nests. They are most abundant in Australia. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

mentor pollen

Pollen that is mixed with an incompatible pollen type in order to stimulate fruit and seed development and production of some seeds fertilized by the incompatible pollen (see rescue pollination). Mentor pollen is commonly treated to destroy its fertilizing abilities or to destroy the incompatibility mechanism (Brown and Adiwilaga 1991).


The middle layer of pericarp or fruit wall. (Roubik 1995)


One of the three pans of the fleshy lip of some orchid flowers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The middle portion of an insect thorax. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

mess-and-soil pollination

A type of pollination usually occurring in primitive flowering plants and effected by beetlesso named because the beetles blunder around the flowers chewing on floral parts, eating pollen, and defecating. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The process by which an insect changes in body form as it develops. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


The floral syndrome involving pollination by marsupials. (Armstrong 1979)


Battery-operated hand-held mechanical pollinator developed for date palm pollination. (Haffar 1999)

micro-Kjeldahl reaction

Method for determining nitrogen levels of pollen. (FAO 1995)


The pore in the ovule (or opening in the integuments) by which the pollen tube gains access to the interior of the ovule. (Richards 1997); (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A genetic marker (a short DNA sequence or locus) which is non-coding and subject to high mutation rates and thus vary between populations that have little or reduced gene flow between them; Genetic sequences used in population analysis studies because they usually differ between individual found in distinct populations.


Structures in which microspores are produced; in angiosperms, the elongated paired pollen sacs that constitute one of the two lobes of a typical anther; thecae. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A haploid male spore; uninucleate structure released from tetrads after meiosis that produces the male gametophyte (pollen grain) by mitosis. (Kearns and Inouye 1993); Gives rise to a male gametophyte (includes pollen). (Richards 1997)


Pollen mother cells contained within the microsporangia (thecae) that undergo meiosis to produce haploid microspores. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The production of microspores by meiosis. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A leaflike structure that bears microsporangia. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The movement of an individual or its offspring (seeds, spores, larvae etc.) from one location to another.

migratory beekeeping

A form of beekeeping practiced in the United States and other technologically advanced countries with large beekeeping industries. Basically, beekeepers use trucks to transport their colonies to follow the bloom and custom-pollinate agricultural crops such as almonds in California. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A species that has evolved to resemble another. This may offer protection from predators for the mimic, as the model may sting. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


The physical resemblance of an organism (the mimic) to another unrelated organism in order to gain some benefit (e.g. a species resembling an unpalatable or toxic species in order to escape predation).

mistake pollination

A pollinator visits a nonrewarding flower by mistake, such as in plants where male and female flowers look similar but only one sex offers a reward. (Dafni 1984)


chemical biocide applied to rid plants or animals of mites (Acari). (Roubik, 2018)


The ordinary changes through which a cell nucleus passes during cell multiplication, producing daughter cells of chromosome number equal to the parent cell. (Roubik 1995)

mixed inflorescence

A branched inflorescence with both racemose and cymose components, as in grape and mango, in which the main inflorescence axis is racemose, the small ultimate branches cymose. (Roubik 1995)


The process by which a larva sheds its outer skin. Because the outer skin is inflexible and does not expand, a larva must molt in order to grow. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


Flowering only once during a lifetime; semelparous. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Bearing hermaphrodite flowers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Member of the class Monocotyledones which includes a minority of Angiosperms (see dicotyledon) and is characterized by such features as one cotyledon in a seedling, scattered vascular bundles, an absence of secondary thickening, narrow, parallel-veined leaves and floral parts in threes and sixes. Probably derived from the dicotyledons. (Richards 1997)


The cultivation or growth of only one agricultural product in a given area (field, farm, garden, forest). (Peter Kevan, 2017)


Having two different kinds of imperfect flowers (male and female) on each plant in the same population. (Bernhardt 1999) as in the squashes, gourds, and pumpkins, for example.


Bees that collect pollen from only one species of plant to provision their brood cells. The bee will usually collect nectar from a wider range of plants. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


The pollen-collecting behavior of certain solitary bee species that, throughout their range and year to year, specialize on the pollen of just one species or related congeners. See oligolecty and polylecty. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


(Of flowers). Pollinated by one or a few related species of pollinators. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Having a single origin in evolutionary history. (Richards 1997)

monotelic inflorescence

One in which the apex of the inflorescence axis ends with a terminal flower. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Insects that visit a single plant species. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The act of cutting grass or plants to a level close to the ground.

mullerian mimicry

The sharing of a feature or signal by a number of different species to the mutual benefit of all (see Batesian mimicry). (Richards 1997)

multidimensional scaling

A multivariate statistical analysis for determining the similarity or dissimilarity of samples such as communities of pollinators; similarly is measured as one of a selection of similarity indices calculated between sampling units.


Of a carpel with more than one ovule. (Richards 1997)

multiple fruit

A fruit consisting of the compressed fleshy fruitlets of the many flowers of a compact inflorescence in which the axis also becomes fleshy, as in pineapple, custard apple and Monstera. (Roubik 1995)


Any member of the large fly family Muscidae in the order Diptera. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A family of muscoid flies usually similar in appearance to the common housefly. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Increase in the rate of mutation through the use of chemicals, radiation, etc. (Richards 1997)


A type of symbiosis in which all partners derive benefits from the association. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The floral syndrome involving pollination by flies. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The floral syndrome involving pollination by ants. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)



A species of animal or plant that naturally occurs in a region. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)

native bee

Any bee which is native to the in which it is found.

native biota

The collective living things (animals, plants, fungi etc.) which are native to a particular area.

native pollinator

A pollinator species living in an area where it evolved, or dispersed without human intervention. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

naturalized species

A species that, once it is introduced outside its native distributional range, establishes self-sustaining populations. (Peter Kevan, 2017)


An animal's capacity to orientate itself towards a destination, regardless of its direction, by other means than simple landmark recognition.

nearest-neighbour analysis

A method of analysing the distance between points and the closest point to it used to measure whether distributions are random, clustered or regular.


A secretion produced by flowers to attract pollinators usually containing sugars, amino acids, and other compounds that are of nutritional importance to flower visitors. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

nectar breeding

Selective breeding of crops for plants with high nectar production. (FAO 1995)

nectar corridor

Habitat along the migration route of a pollinator, either a continuous strip or stepping stones, which provides foraging and refueling resources across an otherwise inhospitable landscape. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)

nectar guide

A marking in a contrasting color, not always visible to humans, that serves as an orientation cue to a flower visitor of where to find nectar. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

nectar reward

The sugar secretions produced by flowers as a reward for visiting pollinators.

nectar robbing

Biting into a flower in order to extract the nectar illegitimately and usually without effecting pollination. A behavior exhibited most commonly by some species of bees, but also by ants, hummingbirds, and other animals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

nectar sugar concentration

Concentration of sugars in a nectar sample. (FAO 1995)

nectar sugar content

Types of sugar present in a nectar sample. (FAO 1995)

nectar theft

Obtaining nectar in a fashion other than that for which a flower has evolved and without effecting pollination, but not by causing mechanical damage to the flower (e.g., bypassing the reproductive parts of a flower with a long, thin proboscis). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Producing nectar. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A specialized region of floral tissue, usually at the base of the inner most floral tube, where nectar, a mixture of sugars and amino acids in water, is secreted. The nectar solution forms pools in this region and pollinators drink from it. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

neighborhood size

1. The genetically effective size of a nonideal population derived from a model of the decay of gene frequency variances in an ideal, random mating population; 2. The number of breeding individuals within a circle with a radius equal to twice the standard deviation of gene dispersal. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Theoretical concept of an area containing a number of genets between which there is panmixis (the effective population number, or neighbourhood size). (Richards 1997)


A suborder of Diptera; generally small flies with more than five antennal segments; the larvae have well.developed heads and mandibles that move laterally, unlike other groups of flies. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A species whose restricted geographical distribution is a function of its recent origin. (Richards 1997)


neuro-active insecticide chemically similar to nicotine (tobacco plant), relatively harmless to mammals, although the most commonly used pesticide contains imidacloprid, which harms bee colonies (see "CCD"). (Roubik, 2018)


The persistence of a juvenile condition into an adult stage. (Richards 1997)

nest substrate

The surface or substance to which a nest is constructed or attached.

nest substrate availability

Refers to the availability of suitable nest substrates for a particular species of animal in a particular ecosystem or habitat; land management practices need to be carried out to maintain suitable substrate availability for the required pollinating species.


The process of locating a suitable nesting site by insects; usually refers to queen bees which have left their original nest to locate a new site to begin their own colony.


The location of an insect nest.

nest-site fidelity

A behaviour exhibited by some insects where they return to the same nesting site in consecutive years.

nest-site selection

The process of selecting a nest-site; usually refers to the group decisions of honeybee swarms, where scout bees locate a new nest site and guide the rest of the swarm to the location.

nested (in plant-pollinator networks (q.v.))

The degree to which species (plants or pollinators) with few interaction links share a sub-set of the links of other species, rather than having a different set of links. In highly nested networks, groups of species that share more or less similar activities contain both generalist species (q.v.) (i. e., with many links) and specialist species (q.v.) (i. e., with few links, but shared with the generalists). In mutualistic networks, such as pollination, nestedness is often asymmetrical (q.v.), with specialists of one group (plants or pollinators) linked to the generalists of the partner group (pollinators or plants). (Peter Kevan, 2017)

nesting biology

The biological characteristics of an organism in relation to its nesting habits and requirements.

nesting guild

A group of organisms made up of species which have the same or similar nesting requirements (e.g. ground-nesting guild; tree-nesting guild etc.).

network structure

The structure of an ecological network (e.g. food web) which is defined by characteristics such as connectance, trophic links, species, distribution etc. (Dunne et al. 2002)


The inner layer of the exine. (Richards 1997)


The functional position of a particular organism within its environment, which collectively includes the habitat it lives in, the time spent there and its role in the ecosystem.

niche differentiation

The process of natural selection which moves competing species into different resource use patterns or different ecological niches in order to eliminate or minimise competition.

non-Apis bee

Casual term employed by melittologists for any bee not belonging to the honeybee genus. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A species of animal or plant that does not naturally occur in a region. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


fungus parasite Nosema spp., with highly resistant spores, kills adult honey bees and other bee. (Roubik, 2018)


Zygomorphic flowers with stamens and style placed so that they come into contact with the dorsal surface of the foragers body. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The central body of the ovule containing the embryo-sac, which acts as a nurse to the archesporium. (Roubik 1995)

null model

A model of what should occur if no effect or process is occurring; often used as a control in scientific studies.


obligate mutualism

A mutualistic relationship between partners who cannot survive outside the relationship. Contrast with facultative mutualism. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

obligate outcrosser

A flowering plant species that, for reasons of physiological incompatibility, must receive and donate pollen in the form of cross-pollination. It cannot pollinate itself between flowers on the same plant. Greater levels of seed set are achieved with outcrossing, as well as increased genetic recombination (mixing of genes). (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Possessing few stamens. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

oligolectic (of flower visitors)

Bees that collect pollen from a limited range of plants (often those in a single genus or family) to provision their brood cells. These bees will usually collect nectar from a wider range of plants. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


A flower visitor that specializes on a few related plant species. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


(Of flowers). Pollinated by a few related animal taxa. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


(Of flower visitors) Visiting only a few related host plants. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Pollination by rain. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The unfertilized female gamete. (Roubik 1995)

open-pollinated flower

Pollination by native pollinators; normal, natural pollination without additional pollen input from humans (Winfree et al. 2007)

orchid bee

Any of a group of extremely specialized apid bees that pollinate certain tribes and genera in the immense orchid family. Known also as euglossines, orchid bees are shiny metallic, usually green or blue in color, and the males are highly specialized to visit orchids and harvest their floral scents. Species of some orchid bee males are thought to display to females in mating leks within clearings in tropical forests. Orchid bees occur only in the New World. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A group of families that have evolved from a common source. Orders are printed in regular type and capitalized. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


A type of statistical analysis which represents objects defined by multiple variables on a coordinates axis, so that similar objects are near each other and dissimilar objects are further from each other.


Any type of agricultural system which utilizes only plant-based, mineral or animal originated fertilisers and pesticides, as opposed to manufactured chemicals.


Pollination of bird-adapted flowers by perching and hovering birds. Usually these flowers are not only large and colorful but also sturdily built so the birds probing bills and feet do not damage the ovules within the ovaries. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Scent-producing gland on a flower. (Kearns and Inouye 1993); Floral organ, often formed from a petal, which is long, narrow, drooping, often dark, and usually foul-smelling, usually as part of a myophilous syndrome. (Richards 1997)


The chief means of reproduction by flowering plants. Such plants can only be fertilized by pollen from other plants. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Lower portion of the floral pistil containing the ovules that when fertilized will become the seeds in the fruits of flowering plants. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


excessive fruit production that damages the plant (breakage or mortality) or diminishes size and commercial quality of individual fruit. (Roubik, 2018)


(Of insects). Egg laying. (Richards 1997)


Structure in the female portion of the flower that becomes the seed. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


paleomorphic (of flowers)

(Of flowers). Lacking symmetry, often bearing multiple floral parts with bracts or leaves below. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Short feelers on an insect's mouth that help it find food and guide food into the mouth; important sense detectors.


An inflorescence with the main axis branched into an open racemose flower cluster. (Roubik 1995)


Random mating. (Kearns and Inouye 1993). A theoretical concept of a breeding system which has an infinitely large number of genets which are equally likely to mate with each other; see outbreeding, inbreeding, neighbourhood. (Richards 1997).


Flowers such as many in the Fabaceae that bear a standard, wings, and keel. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The typical flower form of the family Legumninosae (Fabaceae) subfamily Papilionaceae, with a dorsal standard, lateral wings, and two petals fused to form a keel, within which the stamens and style are held under tension (a pea flower). (Richards 1997)


Specialized epidermal cells of the stigma which receive the pollen grains. (Roubik 1995)


A heteromorphic condition in the family Plumbaginaceae characterized by long stigma papillae (see cob). (Richards 1997)


The modified calyx of Composite flowers that function in seed dispersal. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A species interaction where one species (the parasite) lives on or in another species (the host) in order to gain resources such as food and shelter; unlike predation, parasitism need not kill the host directly.


Arrangement of the ovules around the outer walls of a carpel. (Richards 1997)


Development of fruit without pollination. (Kearns and Inouye 1993) - as in navel orange, some figs, seedless grapes, pineapple and banana. (Roubik 1995)


Production of new individuals from unfertilized egg cells. (Roubik 1995)


A group of flowers, often of the same species, presenting a similar syndrome to pollinators, which major on it. (Richards 1997)

patch dynamics

The relationship among organisms living in and/or foraging in distinct habitat patches in a landscape. (Allaby 1998)

path analysis

A statistical method used to analyse the relationships within a model to see how specified characteristics relate to each other.


Stalk or stem of individual flower or inflorescence. (Roubik 1995)


The stalk of a single flower or an inflorescence. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A protein coating on the stigmatic surface, overlying the cutinised outer layer of cells and functionally important in the capture and hydration of pollen grains. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Having five parts. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A fleshy fruit from a compound pistil, with an inferior ovary embedded in the receptacle (e.g. melon, squash, cucumber).


A bisexual flower containing both stamens and carpels. (Bernhardt 1999)


A botanical term that collectively refers to the whorls of petals in a typical flower. This is the floral tissue that is brightly colored and produces the floral scents. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The ovary wall in a mature fruit. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


With sepals, petals, and stamens attached to the floral tube. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Timed interaction of vector and blossom to maximise benefits for both parties. (Faegri & van der Pijl 1979)


Storage tissue similar to the endosperm but formed from the nucellus. (Roubik 1995)


chemical product used to remove unwanted plants, animals, fungi or other organisms (see also "biocide"). (Roubik, 2018)


A segment of the corolla within the whorl of sepals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993). The showy, often colorful array of plant organs within flowers that have evolved as billboards and perfume dispensers to advertise their presence to pollinators and guide them to hidden nectar deposits. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A leaf stalk. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The floral syndrome involving pollination by small moths. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The expression of a genotype, i.e. the result of interaction between the genotype and the environment. (Richards 1997)

phenotypic plasticity

The capability of a genotype to assume different phenotypes. (Richards 1997)


Volatile hormone used by insects as a mating attractant. (Richards 1997)


The tendency of an animal to stay in its home range or return there after absence.

phorid fly

(Phoridae Neohypocephala and other genera) pest of stingless bees and honey bees, larvae consume brood and stored pollen, often killing colony. (Roubik, 2018)


The arrangement of leaves on a stem. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The classification of plant ecological communities. (Richards 1997)

pin flower

Flowers that produce long styles and small pollen from anthers within the corolla tube.

pioneer pollen

Pollen that is applied first in rescue pollination techniques. This pollen carries the genotype desired in the cross but is normally not cross-compatible with the ovules. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The female reproductive organ of a flower that is further subdivided into ovary, style, and stigma. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996). The normally central, seed-producing part of flower. (Roubik 1995)


Functionally female flowers, with pistils only. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

pistillate sorting

Processes occurring in the pistil that result in nonrandom seed parentage with respect to the pollen deposited on the stigma (Bertin et al. 1989)


The surface or tissue part of ovary to which ovules become attached. (Roubik 1995)

plant breeding system

Attributes of the flowers within an individual that may influence gamete transfer among conspecifics. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

plant community

A general term for a group of plants (individuals of the same species and different species) living together in a particular environment (e.g. a forest community, a grassland community etc.).

plant conservation

The process of conserving plant species, either individually or as a community or ecosystem.

plant demography

Refers to the collective changes in plant population size and structure over time.

plant fecundity

The realized reproductive capacity of a specific plant.

plant growth hormone

natural plant hormone used commercially to induce or improve seed and fruit production, including cytokinin, gibberellin, ethylene and auxin. (Roubik, 2018)

plant growth regulator

synthetic or natural plant hormone or non-nutrient chemical that influences growth and development, including 4-chlorophenoxy-acetic CID (4-CPA), similar to 2,4-D, used commercially to increase flowering and fruit set; another example is synthetic auxin naphthaleneacetic acid, used commercially to prevent fruit drop. (Roubik, 2018)

plant mating system

The mating system provides a description of the distribution of mating unions in a population. The main mating systems in plants are outcrossing (cross-fertilisation), autogamy (self-fertilisation) and apomixis (asexual reproduction without fertilization). Mixed mating systems, where plants use two or three mating systems, are not uncommon. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

plant-pollinator network

A group of local plant and pollinator species and the links among them, which establish who interacts with whom (i.e., qualitative network). A network can also include a measure of the strength of each individual interaction link (i.e., quantitative network). (Peter Kevan, 2017)

plant population density

The number of plant individual plants per unit area within a single population.

plant reproduction

The process of producing offspring through a variety of means (e.g. fertilisation, cloning etc.).

plant-animal interaction

A general term for the physical interaction between a plant species and an animal species.

plant-pollination interaction

A general term for the relationship between a plant and its pollinating organism.

plant-pollinator landscape

A term introduced by Judith Bronstein to describe a situation in which pollinators and their floral plant hosts have evolved in a mutualistic way over long periods of time. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

plant-pollinator relationship

A general term for the relationship between a plant and its pollinating organism.


(Of flowers). Radially symmetrical with small numbers of floral parts. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A monocarpellary fruit that dehisces down both sutures. (Roubik 1995)


The powdery grains produced by angiosperm anthers or the microsporangia of gymnosperms, which contain the nucleus that fertilizes the oosphere to form a seed. (Roubik 1995). Each pollen grain contains a tube cell connected to one or two sperm cells.These cells are encircled by a tough, double-layered wall. (Bernhardt 1999).

pollen brush

A patch of special hairs on a bees body that are used to carry dry pollen back to the nest. Usually, the scopa is on the back legs, although in some families it is on the sides of the thorax or the underside of the abdomen. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)

pollen carryover

pollen carryover. The deposition of pollen beyond the first flower after the one where it originated. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

pollen coat

A layer of fat globules and protein film that clings to the surface of most pollen grains. Often contains pigments and scent molecules that give the grains distinctive color and scents. (Bernhardt 1999)

pollen flow

The movement of pollen grains to flowers other than those where they originated. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

pollen flower

Flowers which offer visitors abundant pollen, but little or no nectar. (Proctor et al. 1996)

pollen grain

The multicellular male gametophyte. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

pollen limitation

Production of less than the maximum seed potential due to inadequate numbers of pollen grains to fertilize ovules. (Kearns and Inouye 1993).The degree to which pollinator services are sufficient to maximise fruit/seed set. (Burd 1994). An inappropriate or insufficient deposition of pollen on the stigma (sensu Ashman et al. 2004, Knight et al. 2005).

pollen load

The number of pollens attached on the bee body is called pollen loads. These bees also have a length variation of proboscis that is used to collect pollens and nectar when foraging on the flowers (Davies 1988).

pollen mother cells

The cells that divide to produce microspores that mature into pollen grains. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

pollen presenter

A specialized region of the style in the genus Banksia (Proteaceae) onto which pollen dehisces from the anthers just before the flower opens. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

pollen resource

The pollen inside a flower as a resource for flower visitors.

pollen robbing

Biting into a flower in order to remove pollen, usually without effecting pollination. A behavior exhibited by some species of bees and perhaps other animals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

pollen specialization

(Of flower visitors). A preference or adaptation for utilising pollen from only a certain species or type of flower.

pollen spraying

Mechanical pollination technique of spraying plants with a pollen solution through an airbrush apparatus. (Calzoni & Speranza 1998).

pollen theft

Obtaining pollen in a fashion other than that for which a flower has evolved and usually without effecting pollination, but not by causing mechanical damage to the flower (e.g., gathering of pollen from a large flower by small bees that will not effect pollination). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

pollen trap

Installation on bee-hive entrances to collect pollen from bees entering the hive. (FAO 1995)

pollen tube

A thin tubular outgrowth of pollen grain usually upon contact with stigma, and which penetrates style to ovary, permitting sperm nuclei to unite with egg cell. (Roubik 1995)

pollen viability

Ability of a pollen grain to successfully fertilise (FAO 1995); sterile or aborted or unviable pollen will not result in pollination while viable pollen will.

pollen/ovule ratio

The number of pollen grains produced by a flower divided by the number of ovules; can be used as an indication of the breeding system.


Plant source of pollen for fertilizing receptive stigmas. (Roubik 1995)


The adhesive surface of pollen grains; can contain lipoidal or pigmented substances that may add color or odor to the pollen and may cause pollen grains to adhere to each other during dehiscence or to pollinators. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


In orchids and asclepiads, the structure detached from the male plant bearing sacs of pollen grain, united to an adhesive disc that attaches to the pollinator. (Roubik 1995)


Transferring pollen from anthem to stigmas. (Roubik 1995)


The process of moving pollen from the anthers of one flower to the stigma of another or the same flower. Equally vital processes of fertilization and seed set follow from pollination. Pollination can be effected either by abiotic means such as gravity, wind and water or by animals such as bats and bees. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

pollination agent

Particular vector for moving pollen from male to female plant reproductive parts; the agent of pollination.

pollination biology

The study of all aspects of pollination including plant/pollinator interactions, pollen types, pollination mechanisms, flower morphology, breeding systems etc.;

pollination brush

An apparatus used to pollinate pears in China: a brush made from cigarette filters or chicken feathers attached to a stick for ease of application (Ya et al. n.d.)

pollination decline

Refers to a decline in the rate that plants are pollinated as a result of increasing habitat fragmentation and modification. (Cunningham 2000)

pollination deficit

A quantitative or qualitative deficit of pollination that results in a decrease in the sexual reproductive output of plants. (Wilcock & Neiland 2002)

pollinator dependence

The degree to which either seed or fruit production, or both, of a plant becomes reduced in the total absence of animal pollinators. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

pollination ecology

The study of the ecological and evolutionary relationships involved in the pollination process. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

pollination effectiveness

A measure of the accomplishments of a single visit of an individual animal in terms of pollen deposited, pollen removed, or seeds produced. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

pollination efficiency

A measure of both the costs (flower damage, pollen eaten, etc.) and benefits (pollen deposited, pollen removed, seeds produced, etc.) of a single visit of an individual animal. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

pollination intensity

The number of viable pollen grains that are deposited on a stigma. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

pollination interaction

The reciprocal action, effort or influence between a plant and the organism which provides a pollination service.

pollination limitation

Absence of pollen deposition (Wilcock & Neiland 2002); a difference between the naturally occurring pollination level - that is open pollination and the pollination that resulted from various treatments that could be interpreted as improved pollination. (Vaissere et al. 2008)

pollination management plan

An agreed set of practices to be undertaken within a defined landscape area by a community of farmers or land managers to promote pollinators, and thus increase the level of pollination services to target crops. (FAO 2009)

pollination mode

Method of pollination, either selfiing or outcrossing. (FAO1995)

pollination services

Pollination acts performed by all the various animals that dependably visit certain species of flowering plants. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

pollination stick

An apparatus used to pollinate pears in China: a stick to which a pollination brush is attached (Ya et al. n.d.)

pollination syndrome

A set of plant attributes ndicative of pollination via a particular vector (i.e. wind, bee, bird etc.) (Mayfield 2008). An old concept, dating back to the early works of Europeans including Paul Knuth and Hermann Mueller, suggesting that the floral visitors a flower receives (hummingbird, bat, fly, butterfly, moth, bee, beetle) can be predicted from the flowers suite of morphological characteristics and rewards. Although subject to misapplication, the concept is still of great value in teaching about pollination. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


An animal that moves compatible pollen to a receptive stigma of the same plant species, such that fertilization and seed production can occur. (Roubik 1995)

pollinator abundance

The number of individual pollinators in a particular ecosystem, community or visiting a particular plant population (Mayfield 2008). A population characteristic affecting the number of visits a plant receives from a given species of pollinator (Young 1988).

pollinator diversity

A general term that can refer to the number of pollinator species found in a particular area, or any other diversity measure or diversity index which may include information on the abundance of each species as well as the number of species. This is most commonly a spatially explicit measure.

pollinator effectiveness

A measure of the accomplishments of a single visit of an individual animal in terms of pollen deposited, pollen removed, seeds produced, percentage of available florets pollinated, etc. (Spears 1983, Young 1988, Neff and Simpson 1990). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

pollinator efficiency

A measure of both the costs (flower damage, pollen eaten, etc.) and benefits (pollen deposited, pollen removed, seeds produced, etc.) of a single visit of an individual animal (Neff and Simpson 1990). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

pollinator garden

A garden specifically designed to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, or bees. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

pollinator importance

A measure combining the pollinator abundance and pollinator effectiveness (Young 1988). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

pollinator limitation

When pollinators are a limiting factor for the maximization of reproductive success in plants; pollinators are limiting when they occur in insufficient numbers to produce maximal fruit set in an insect pollinated plant.

pollinator mortality

The increase in the rate or abundance of pollinator deaths in a particular ecosystem. Frequent causes are excessive or misused pesticide application or disease.

pollinator movement

Refers to the pattern and direction of movements of a particular pollinator across the flowers of a particular plant community.

pollinator network

A network between communities of pollinators and plants (2-mode network) or between species of pollinators or between plants in a community (1-mode network). (Olesen et al. 2006)

pollinator pool

All of the pollinators that visit a certain plant in a given area. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

pollinator syndrome

A system used by many floral biologists during the middle of the twentieth century to describe certain groups of flowers classified according to their physical attributes (shape, size, open or tubular, and soon) as well as their color, odors, and types and amounts of floral rewards offered. Thus deep-throated red flowers with no scent and abundant nectar are most often pollinated by hummingbirds in the New World tropics. Therefore such blossoms are said to be hummingbird-pollinated and belong to this pollinator syndrome. Similarly, one can describe floral guilds that are adapted by pollination by flies, beetles, birds, butterflies, moths, and bats. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A system in which pollinators- and therefore pollen grains- are in short supply and thus limit the amount of fruits and seeds that can be produced by a local plant population. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

pollinium (pl. pollinia).

A mass of pollen grains united into a single dispersal unit for more efficient transport by a specialized pollinator. Pollinia are routinely found in the milkweed and orchid families. This pollen is usually quite safe from ingestion by pollinators. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Male plant used solely for pollen production within a fruiting crop e.g. kiwifruit; dates.


Pollen grains attached in groups of more than four. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Flowering more than once during a lifetime, iteroparous. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The simultaneous cultivation or growth of two or more compatible agricultural products (intercropping, some crops and livestock, agroforestry, agriculture and aquaculture). (Peter Kevan, 2017)


Having more than one embryo in a fertilised ovule (e.g. mango) (Roubik 1995)


Bearing both unisexual and bisexual flowers at the same time. (Bernhardt 1999)


Having both perfect flowers and those of one sex (staminate or pistillate). (Roubik 1995)


(Of flower visitors). The pollen-collecting and feeding habits of social bees and certain solitary bees that routinely gather pollen from unrelated plant families and genera in one area and over a long period of time. One of the most polylectic species is the introduced honeybee, Apis mellifera, for it has the broadest pollen diet. See monolecty and oligolecty. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A generalist flower visitor. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

polypetalous (choripetalous)

Having separate (unfused) petals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A flower that is visited by many species of pollinator (see oligophilic). (Richards 1997)


(Of flowers). Pollinated by many different insect taxa.

polytelic inflorescence

One in which there is no terminal flower at the summit of the primary axis but rather a multiflowered polytelic florescence. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The condition of visiting many different species of flowers for pollen (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Fleshy fruit derived from several carpels, the receptacle and outer pericarp being fleshy, and the inner pericarp, papery. (Roubik 1995) (e.g. apple, pear, quince)

population dynamics

The study of temporal patterns of species within populations including changes in population variables such as age structures, weights, numbers, sex ratios etc.

population viability analysis

A species-specific method of risk assessment used in conservation biology to determine a population's risk of extinction based on a number of factors.

poricidal anthers

Anthers that dehisce apically, through opening of a pore at the distal end of the anther. Sometimes anthers with partial longitudinal loculicidal slits are included in this definition. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Entry of the pollen tube into the ovule via the micropyle. (Roubik 1995)


Acting after fertilization (such as seed abortion) (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

precocious embryony

Development of the embryo asexually before the flower opens and anther dehiscence occurs. (Richards 1997)


A species interaction where one species (the predator) kills and consumes another (the prey).

prepupa (plural prepupae)

The final stage of the last larval instar. In bees, this is the stage after the larva has defecated; during unfavourable conditions a prepupa can remain dormant for extended periods. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


Acting before fertilization (such as genetic self-incompatibility mechanisms). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

proboscis (pl. proboscides).

The insects tongue apparatus. It can be long and coiled, as in butterflies, or quite short and spongelike as in flies. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

progamic phase

The phase that elapses between pollination to fertilization. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


An organ of reproduction (see disseminule), e.g. seed, bulbil, stolon. (Richards 1997)


Sticky plant resin collected by workers to seal gaps in a hive and sometimes entomb large trespassers (e.g. mice); supposedly of medicinal value to humans.


Condition in which a flowers anthers dehisce before its stigma is receptive. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The gametophyte generation of Pteridophytes, and the female gametophyte of Gymnosperms (equivalent to the Angiosperm embryo-sac). (Richards 1997)


Condition in which all carpels in a bisexual flower receive pollen and wither before the stamens release pollen. (Bernhardt 1999)

provision mass

The amassed mixture of pollen, nectar, and often bodily secretions from female bees used as the complete diet for solitary bees. Such bees are said to be mass-provisioned because their larvae receive all the food they require, from egg to adult, at one time from their mother. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

proximate reason

An immediate or functional explanation. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A collection of small flowers often surrounded by colorful bracts or leaves that give the appearance of being petals of a single flower. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Loss of self-incompatibility due to environmental stimuli: such as heat, electrical stimulation, physical damage to the stigma, or bud pollination. (Richards 1997)


Male insects attempt copulation with flowers that resemble females of their species (pollination mechanism for some Orchidaceae). (Dafni 1984).


Pollen is required to trigger development of seeds, but pollen nuclei are not involved in fertilization. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Structures that look like nectaries but do not secrete nectar (Dafni 1984).


1. A nutritive mass of nonpollen cells offered as a floral reward; 2. Cells that resemble pollen and attract pollinators by deception (Dafni 1984).


pollination service provider — a technical support service, soon to include more than Megachile, Osmia, Tetragonula, Plebeia, Scaptotrigona, Apis, Melipona, Tetragonisca, Xylocopa or Trigonisca. (Roubik, 2018)


The floral syndrome involving pollination by butterflies. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

pupa (plural pupae)

A life stage of those insects that undergo complete metamorphosis. During this stage, as its body form changes from larva to adult, the insect is inactive. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


The act of becoming a pupa. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


A mechanical instrument for measuring solar radiation. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)



The egg-laying female in a social bee colony. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)



An unbranched inflorescence. (Roubik 1995)


The axis of an inflorescence or compound leaf. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A physiologically independent individual (from one to many may compose a genet). (Roubik 1995)


The state of being rare and uncommon in a specified area.

ray florets

The showy ligulate flowers of Composite flower heads (Asteraceae). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Rate of net solute loss from unvisited flowers; negative apparent secretion rate. (Brquez and Corbet 1991).


The enlarged region bearing floral parts or bearing the florets of a Composite. (Kearns and Inouye 1993); Part of a flower on which the perianth, stamens, and in hypogynous flowers, the gynoecium are borne. (Richards 1997).


The period in which the stigma is able to receive pollen and during which pollen tubes will grow - resulting in fertilisation - usually only a few days.

reciprocal coevolution

The most extreme type of mutualism: each of the partners evolves with its evolutionary dance partnerfor example, the long- legged bee genus Rediviva and its twin-spur floral host genus Diascia from southern Africa. Neither can live without the other, and apparently both have directed each others evolutionary trajectory. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

reciprocal herkogamy

Different arrangements of spatial separation of anthers and stigmas; distyly involves two different arrangements, tristyly three. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


behavioural process whereby foraging bee alerts/guides other workers of colony to field resource. (Roubik, 2018)

regular spacing

A characteristc of collective nests of insects (e.g. ground-nesting Hymenoptera) which are distributed with uniform distances between each nest (i.e. not clumped together); regular spacing is usually established because of intraspecific competition or density-dependent parasitic mortality (Potts & Willmer 1998).


The genetic similarity between organisms; can refer to the genetic similarity of individuals or populations of a single species or the similarity of different species.

rendezvous pollination

A flower elicits a sexual response from a pollinator (Daffni 1984).

reproductive nectary

A nectary within a flower. (Roubik 1995)

reproductive status

reproductive status. A plants absolute (male and female) allocation to sexual reproduction in a given season (Lloyd and Bawa 1984).

reproductive success

The process of passing genes onto the next generation while ensuring that generation is also able to pass those genes on to their offspring, etc.; the relative production of fertile offspring by a genotype.

rescue pollination

Application of a second pollen load of a different genotype to promote seed formation from the first pollen applied. E.g., pollination of cultivated tetraploid potato flowers with pollen from a triploid hybrid does not result in seed set. However if this first pollination is followed by pollination with pollen from cultivated tetraploids, fruit development is normal, and some percentage of seeds are derived from the first pollination (Brown and Adiwilaga 1991).


The ability of an organism, population or ecosystem to return to its original state after disturbance or impact.


The ability of an organism, population or ecosystem to withstand the effects of a disturbance or impact.

resource availability

The degree to which necessary resources are available for use by a particular organism.

resource limitation

The degree to which necessary resources (such as nutrients, water, light or pollinators) are not available for use by a particular organism; limits to population growth, reproductive success etc. due to insufficient resources.

resource partitioning

The division of resources (e.g. space, nesting sites, food, shelter etc.) between species with similar needs to minimise competition.


The active management of a disturbed ecosystem or community with the goal of returning it to a state more similar to what was there before the disturbance.

restoration ecology

The science and process of using plants and animals to re store a human-degraded site to its former condition. Examples include reforestation of timberland or mine tailings. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Netlike. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A measure of the number of different taxonomic groups in a particular area (usually species).


In pollination ecology, the destruction of at least part of a flower to obtain nectar, pollen or another resource. (Roubik 1995)


A biocide designed for the killing of rodents. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A small beak; a stigma protrusion on some orchid species. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Beaked. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

Roundup Ready™

glyphosate herbicide tolerant, usually applied to crops modified genetically by inserting a fish gene, making their seed produce plants tolerant of the specific herbicide. (Roubik, 2018)


Roughly sculptured, as of the exine of a pollen grain. (Richards 1997)


safe sites

In seed ecology, the final resting spot for a seed where it can finally germinate and grow into a seedling or mature plant. It is safe from seed predators and doesn't succumb to harsh environmental conditions. Safe sites also occur on bees where they cannot groom off the pollen grains deposited by certain flowers. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


With a narrow tube that opens into a flat, expanded circle of petals at the distal end. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

sampling bias

Occurs when collected data is unevenly influenced in some way (i.e. the data are not randomly collected) so it does not represent the entire study population.

sampling effort

A quantitative term which refers to the number of samples obtained and/or the number of times sampling was undertaken.


The floral syndrome involving pollination by carrion- and dung- flies. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Where plants lack chlorophyll, and use decomposing vegetation as an energy source. (Richards 1997)

scale effect

An effect produced in the analysis of a set of modifiable areal units, where different statistical results can be produced from the same data set when they are grouped at different levels of spatial resolution.

scopa (plural scopae)

A patch of special hairs on a bees body that are used to carry dry pollen back to the nest. Usually, the scopa is on the back legs, although in some families it is on the sides of the thorax or the underside of the abdomen; also know as a pollen brush. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)

scramble competition

A free-for-all competition in which competitors scramble for limited available food or other resources. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The middle section of the dorsal thorax of insects. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

seasonal pattern

An identifiable pattern within a specified variable (part of or influenced by the natural environment) which is obviously associated with the variation of the seasons.

secondary pollen carryover

Transport of previously deposited pollen grains from a stigma to another flower by a vector. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

secondary pollen presentation

Deposition of pollen, typically before anthesis, onto some floral part such as the style, from which it is then transferred to flower visitors (E.g., some Rubiaceae and Proteaceae). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Taxonomic rank at a level between species and genus. (Richards 1997)


A fertilized and matured ovule or rudimentary plant, and food necessary for its germination. (Roubik 1995)

seed bank

The total buried reserve of all the seeds, new and old, from all seed plants growing in one areaa safety mechanism to ensure that new recruits of all the species can germinate in future years. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

seed shadow

The dispersal pattern of seeds disseminated by a plant and scattered in various directions and distances by different seed-dispersal agents. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A process (either natural or artificial) that results in differential reproduction between organisms in a population, so that only inheritable traits of certain individuals are passed on (either solely or in greater proportion) to the successive generations.


A plant capable of being fertilized by pollen within its own group of flowers (inflorescence). (Roubik 1995)


A flower or floret capable of being fertilized by its own pollen. (Roubik 1995)


Flowering plants that are incapable of pollinating themselves and rely on genetically distinct pollen from distant plants or nonrelatives to form fruits and seeds. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Autogamous; capable of placing its own pollen upon its own stigma. (Roubik 1995)


Incapable of becoming fertilized by its own pollen. (Roubik 1995)


Fertilization of an ovule by a pollen grain of the same genet. (Roubik 1995)


Where two genets share some but not all gametophytic compatibility traits, thus in some crosses some pollen grains can effect fertilization and others cannot. (Roubik 1995)

semi-natural habitat

A habitat which has been somewhat modified by human presence and activities.

semi-natural pasture

Actively used pasture that has not been seeded or planted with exotic grass species; fodder species are primarily native plant species. (Part & Soderstrom 1999)


A floral part that is usually divided into a whorl of petal-like green appendages at the base of the flower. Collectively they form the calyx, which serves a protective function. See calyx. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Walls between carpels in a fused ovary. (Richards 1997)

sequential blooms

Refers to the practice of choosing plant species to grow together (either in a permanent structure, or alternating in a crop rotation) based on their flowering times so as to ensure that flowers are blooming year-round.

sequential mutualism.

When plants growing in the same area overlap in blooming period and are pollinated by a group of coadapted mutualists, as in the case of red tubular or blue alpine meadow flowers that are pollinated by different sets of hummingbird species as the season progresses. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A succession of plant communities in a given habitat leading to a climax association. (Richards 1997)


Sitting, lacking a stalk or petiole. (Roubik 1995)

sex allocation

The partitioning of resources between male and female functions in cosexual plants. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

sex ratio

The proportion of males to females in a specified population, usually expressed as number of males per 100 females.

sexual reproduction

Reproduction through union of male and female gametes, (as opposed to vegetative reproduction). (Roubik 1995)

shade effect

An effect produced by shade-providers which is felt by the organisms receiving the shade (e.g. heavy shade trees grown over a particular crop which needs extensive sunlight to grow well may reduce yields).


Offspring of the same parents. (Richards 1997)


The floral syndrome involving pollination by rodents. (Armstrong 1979).

social bee

Social bees are those that live together in a communal nest and often share foraging or nest duties. The highest form of sociality involves an overlap of generations, such that a mother bee will share a nest with her off spring. Also known as eusocial, these bees-including the familiar honey bees, bumble bees, and certain sweat bees- have overlapping generations and distinct worker, male, and queen castes, sometimes along with a division of labor. See solitary bee. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

social insect

Insects that live in colonies and work together to build nests and to provide food for and raise their offspring. Only a few native bee species, including bumble bees and sweat bees, are social. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)

social parasite

A parasitic bee that lives in- and lays its egg inside- the nests of social bees. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)

solar furnace

(Of flowers). Flower that focuses solar radiation so that the temperature at the centre of the flower is above the ambient temperature. (Richards 1997)

solitary bee

Bees that, after mating, prepare and provision their own nests without cooperation with other bees. The great majority of bee species are solitary. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


The act of releasing pollen from a flower with pored anthers by a female bee using strong vibrations produced by shivering the thoracic flight muscles. Also known as buzz pollination, sonication occurs in blueberries, cranberries, eggplants, kiwi fruits, and tomatoes. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The fleshy axis of certain inflorescences, such as those of arum lilies, bearing the small flowers or florets. (Roubik 1995)


A large bract enclosing the flower cluster. (Roubik 1995)

spatial competition

Competition of two or more species over the use of space.

spatial scale

The size of area at which a particular event or activity occurs (e.g. migration occurs at a landscape scale).


The degree of adaptation of a body part or a whole organism to a particular environment or function.

specialist species

A species that can thrive only in restrictive environmental conditions and can make use of only a few different (even only one) resources (for example, a flower-visiting insect that lives on the floral resources provided by one plant or a few different plants or a plant that depends on just one or only a few animal species for pollination. (Peter Kevan, 2017)


Individuals that form a group, look more or less alike, and can breed freely among themselves to produce another generation of similar creatures. Abbreviated to sp. for one species and spp. for two or more species. The species name is always printed in italics and is not capitalized; for example, lignaria, the orchard mason bee species in the genus Osmia. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)

species selection for crop rotation

Choosing two or more species of crop for a crop rotation which have the same or similar pollinating agents, to prevent the permanent loss of one type of pollinator during cycles. (Tepedino et al. 2007)

species-area relationship

an ecological law that states total species number increases as the sampled area increases defined by the mathematical relationship: S = b*(A to the power k) where s in the number of species, A is the area of sampling and b and k are parameters that vary among taxa. (Scheiner 2003)


Hawk-moth (family Sphingidae). (Richards 1997)


The floral syndrome involving pollination by hawkmoths. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


An inflorescence with elongated main axis and sessile flowers. (Roubik 1995)

Spillover (a. reference to populations; b. reference to disease transmission)

Pathogen spillover refers to the transfer of one or more pathogens from one population or species (or biotype) to another. A spillover event occurs when an infected reservoir population causes an epidemic in a novel host population. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

spontaneous hybridisation

Hybridization of two species or varieties of the same species through natural pollen movement, without the assistance or manipulation by people.


Structures where spores are produced (e.g., anther locules). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A reproductive cell capable of growing into an adult plant without fusing with another sex cell. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Organ that bears sporangia. (Richards 1997)


The spore-producing, diploid phase of a species displaying alternation of generations. (Roubik 1995)


Of the sporophyte (usually diploid) generation; in the seed plants the dominant generation, the genet that develops from a zygote, is the sporophyte; in sporophytic incompatibility it is the genotype of the anther that produces the pollen grain which is significant, the anther being of the sporophyte generation. (Richards 1997)

sporophytic incompatibility

An incompatibility system in which the genotype of the pollen donor plant determines the expression of pollen grain compatibility type. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The resistant material constituting the exine; believed to be derived from polymerization of carotenoids. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

spray drift

The aerial movement of pesticides or herbicides from spray applications on agricultural sites; they can travel long distances from the application site and affect human populations and natural ecosystems.

squash bee

A group of ground-nesting bees in the genera Peponapis and Xenoglossa that depend on plants in the genus Curcurbita for all their pollen and nectar food requirements. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The male part of a flower consisting of a filaments and anthers. (Roubik 1995) Often, many stamens form a ring around the center of a flower. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


(Of a flower). Functionally male, with stamens only. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

staminode (plural staminodia)

Nonfunctional stamen, sometimes with a broadened and even petallike anther filament and usually lacking a well-developed anther. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A large upper petal of a papilionaceous legume flower. (Roubik 1995)


Main axis of a plant. (Roubik 1995)


(Of flowers). Three-dimensional, radially symmetrical flowers such as Aquilegia, Narcissus. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Barren, unfruitful, incapable of being fertilized. (Roubik 1995)


Zygomorphic flowers with stamens and style placed so that they come into contact with the ventral part of the foragers body. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

stigma (pl. stigmas)

The glandular female receptive portion at the end of the carpel/pistil where pollen grains land and germinate, sending down pollen tubes and sex cells. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996). The distal end of the style, which is where pollen is normally deposited before it germinates. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

stigma exsertion

The degree to which the stigma protrudes beyond the corolla. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

stigmatic loading curve

A graph used to determine the minimum number of pollen grains needed for fertilisation or to produce fruit/seeds of a desired size (FAO 1995).

stingless bees

Group of social bees from the New World and Old World tropics that form large perennial nests and have well-established castes. Stingless bees have only a vestigial sting apparatus but often defend their colonies with aggressive attacks including biting the intruding animal (usually a large mammal). (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The basal stalk of a gynoecium. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A teleological but useful word used to describe a group of attributes which result in a particular life style or behaviour pattern; compare syndrome. (Richards 1997)


The cone structure of a gymnosperm, which can contain either microsporophylls or megasporophylls. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The middle connective portion of a floral pistil uniting the stigma above and ovary below. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


An enlarged, sometimes colorful, style-base that may produce nectar; characteristic of the Apiaceae. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The impact of pesticide poisoning that does not kill an insect but affects its ability to forage or nest. Sub-lethal effects may include agitated behavior, wobbly movements, or paralysis. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


The presence of male and female morphs, one or both of which is often ambisexual. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A geographically defined group that looks different from other groups of the same species, but can freely interbreed with them. Abbreviated to ssp. The subspecies name is always printed in italics and is not capitalized; for example, propinqua, the western subspecies of the orchard mason bee, Osmia lignaria). (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


The endurance of systems and processes. The organizing principle for sustainability in ecology and sociology includes the co-functioning and evolution of four interconnected domains: ecology, economics, politics and culture. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

sustainable intensification

The goal of sustainable intensification is to increase food production from existing farmland while minimizing pressure on the environment. It is a response to the challenges of increasing demand for food from a growing global population, in a world where land, water, energy and other inputs are in short supply, overexploited and used unsustainably. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

sustainably-intensified agriculture

Any system that is designed to produce high yields but with careful management and selection of inputs to reduce harm to the environment. It includes development and use of crop and animal varieties better suited to their environment, use of new technology for pest and disease control and for input management. (Peter Kevan, 2017)

substrate quality

Refers to the essential properties and attributes of substrate material in a particular area which will determine which species will be able to establish nests there.


The process of a habitat's sequential change in plant and animal composition in response to environmental change or disturbance towards a more mature and/or static state.

sugar glider

Any of a group of arboreal native Australian marsupials adapted for living off the sweet exudates of trees as well as the nectar and pollen of flowering plants. The mammals are pollinators of some of these plants. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The extraction or use of natural resources in a manner that results in no net decline or negative impact on those resources over time.

sweat bee

Any member of the bee family Halictidae. These bees can be highly social with well-developed castes. Often they are attracted to sweating humans where they imbibe the perspiration for moisture. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The multiple fruit of a fig in which the edible receptacle (flower axis) is hollow and lined on the inside with numerous fruitlets and seeds. (Roubik 1995)


Two or more dissimilar organisms living together. The association may benefit only one or perhaps all of the so-called symbionts. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Having overlapping geographical distributions. (Richards 1997)


With petals that are fused together. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

symsepalous calyx

With sepals that are fused together. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


With united carpels. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A group of coadapted attributes, or attributes which occur together in a particular condition; a syndrome can contribute to a strategy. (Richards 1997)


The nuclei at the micropylar end of the embryo sac. (Kearns and Inouye 1993). Nuclei (usually two) positioned at the micropilar end of the angiosperm embryo-sac and involved in the process of double fertilization (see filiform apparatus); sometimes known as the egg apparatus. (Richards 1997).


Union of gametes to form a zygote. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The family of Diptera known as flowerflies or hoverflies; common flower-visiting flies, many of which mimic Hymenoptera in appearance and behavior. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)



The family of horse flies. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A family of muscoid flies; similar in appearance to houseflies but usually larger and bristlier, with larvae that are parasitic on other insects. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A special layer of cells inside an anther that nourish the pollen grains, construct the grains'outer walls, and often decorate the outer walls with a greasy pollen coat. (Bernhardt 1999)


The foot of an insect; in some insects (e.g. butterfly, moth) these contain taste organs (Mayfield 2008). The leg segment of insects distal to the tibia. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A taxonomic category, e.g. species, section, genus, family. (Richards 1997)


The scientific classification and naming of organisms. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The outer layer of the pollen grain exine in Angiosperms. (Richards 1997)


Flattened, sterile structures that form a ring or spiral around the flower, showing characteristics intermediate between thos of true petals and true sepals. (Bernhardt 1999) often seen in primitive angiosperms. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The seed coat, derived from the ovule integuments. (Richards 1997)


A group of four pollen grains or pollinia. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Anther lobes; typically each anther comprises two thecae. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The floral syndrome involving pollination by mammals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


In pollination ecology, removal of a floral reward by an animal, where pollination does not follow as a result (as opposed to robbing). (Roubik 1995)


The central of an insects three major body segments, and the one to which wings and legs are attached. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)

threatened species

A plant or animal species that is likely to become endangered in the near future. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Members of the insect order Thysanoptera; very small flying insect with fringed wings and rasping mouthparts. Usually detrimental to flowers by eating pollen, thrips are important pollinators of many tree species in certain forests of Southeast Asia. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

thrum flower

In a heteromorphic system, a flower with a short style and elongate stamen. (Kearns and Inouye 1993) Some flowers were noted by Darwin and other early workers to belong to two types although they were produced on the same planta method to promote outcrossing and enhance pollen donation between distant plants. In one of the most common types, there are pin and thrum blossoms. The thrum flowers have short stigmas often hidden deep within the flower. Pollen can only be successfully donated (and germinate) on a stigma when it goes from pin to thrum or vice versa. See pin flower. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


An inflorescence with determinate terminal axis and indeterminate secondary (tertiary, etc.) axes. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Pollination by thrips (a word coined by David Inouye as there is no term to describe this type of pollination). (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The cultivation of soil by digging or disrupting soil in order to grow crops.

topocentric pollination

Cases in which contact between a foraging insects body and pollen and stigma is ensured by the topography of the flower; contrast with ethodynamic pollination. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

trap flower

Flowers (e.g., Aristolochia) that effect pollination by temporarily trapping pollinators in the flower. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

trap nest

Block of drilled wood or bundle of straws or hollow stems attached to tree trunks or buildings to provide bee nesting sites near crop or garden plants for pollination. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

trap-nesting bee

(also refers to some wasp species) any species that nests in above-ground holes (e.g. in dead wood or grass stems); they are known to be bioindicators sensitive to environmental change. (Tscharntke et al. 1998)


A pollinator foraging behaviour in which the pollinator visits flowers along a linear or semi linear trajectory, rather than visiting all flowers on a plant or clump of plants (Mayfield 2008); A feeding strategy in which certain birds and insects follow a trapline of blooming plants in a set order on a daily basis. These animals are familiar with the distribution and flowering status of plants on their trapline. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996).

tree hollow

A tree trunk or section of a tree which is hollow inside; they are important nesting and shelter places for many bee species.


A pollen grain with three pores, each contained within a groove (sulca). (Richards 1997)


Possessing hermaphroditic, staminate, and pistillate flowers all on the same plant. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A pollen grain containing three nuclei; two are derived from the generative nucleus to produce two sperms. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The state of plants having separate hermaphrodite, male, and female flowers. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

trip mechanism

The structure present in some flowers which allows the spring-loaded reproductive organs to be released when the weight of an alighting insect depresses the mechanism and forces open the petals.

tripped flower

In certain legumes, such as alfalfa, floral parts are held shut until visited by a bee that forces the blossom open. This process often results in a sudden upswing of the anthers, dusting the underside of the bee. By observing the ratio of tripped to untripped blossoms in a field, farmers can tell if their crop is being adequately pollinated. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


The explosive release of the stamens and style held in tension in the keel of a papilionoid flower, by a pollinator. (Richards 1997)


A heterostylous condition with three floral morphs that differ in anther and style height and compatibility. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

trophic group

A category of organisms in the same level of a food web, differentiated by their rate of energy consumption and production (feeding mechanism and predator/prey status).

trophic interaction

The interaction between organisms on two connected trophic levels of a food web.

trophic rank

The rank or level of a particular organism within a trophic web (e.g. producer, consumer etc.); there are usually not more than five levels, due to the eventual reduction of food/energy availability.

trophic web

A connected collective of organisms at a continuum of trophic levels and the interactions among these organisms within a particular ecosystem.


The swollen end of an underground stem containing food reserves. (Roubik 1995)


A tuft or clump of growing grass; important as nesting substrate for some bee species.


ultimate explanation

The fundamental reason that incorporates an evolutionary explanation. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A color that has wavelengths too short to be seen by humans, but can be seen by bees. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


An inflorescence with pedicellate flowers that all originate from a central point. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


A secondary umbel on a compound umbel. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Clawed; with a petal bearing a claw. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Of a carpel with only one ovule. (Richards 1997)

unisexual flower

A flower bearing reproductive organs of one gender. (Kearns and Inouye 1993). Flowers in which either stamens or pistils are functional, the nonfunctional member may be completely lacking, as in pistillate flowers of pawpaw, or rudimentary or aborted, as in fig, banana, some grapes, and in the staminate flowers of pawpaw. (Roubik 1995).

urban habitat fragment

A habitat fragment isolated in a predominantly urban area.

urban-wildland interface

The boundary between residential or urban areas and undeveloped areas of natural or semi-natural vegetation.



mite genus responsible for parasitism of honey bee brood; genera Varroa and Euvarroa are similar. (Roubik, 2018)

vascular plant

Plant containing vascular tissue, xylem and phloem, i.e. Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, Angiosperms. (Richards 1997)


Any biological or abiotic (e.g., wind or water) agent which carries some thing around in a directed fashion. In our case, pollinators vector or pollen grains around the environment and from flower to flower. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


A general term referring to the collective plants or plant life of a particular area.

vegetation structure

The horizontal and vertical distributions of plant matter within a particular ecosystem or community; determined by a combination of environmental and historical factors as well as species composition and species structural traits.

vegetative reproduction

An alternative form of plant reproduction in which a piece of the parental plant or an offset (see bulbil) grows into a genetically identical clone yet distinctly separate plant. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

vestigial organ

A plant or animal organ that appears to have had an important function at one time but is no longer or rarely needed. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)

vibratile pollination

Buzz pollination. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)

vibrating benches

Electric benches that can be set to vibrate, stimulating pollen release and fertilisation.

virgin flower

Flowers that are known to have never been visited by an effective pollinator or pollen vector. (FAO 1995)

viscidium (plural viscidia)

A sticky area on an orchid rostellum where pollinia adhere. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


Sticky threads that bind together the pollen grains in pollinium.


All animals visiting a flower, but not necessarily as pollinators. (Roubik 1995)

vulture bee

The common name for a stingless bee of the genus Trigona which are known to eat carrion.



Any undesirable plant, often one that grows in abundance to the detriment of desirable plants. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


A bird of the family Zosteropidae which lives in forested regions from Africa to New Zealand and feeds on insects, nectar and fruit.

wild pollinator

A pollinator that lives and forages with out the assistance or manipulation of nesting sites by humans.

wildflower mixture

The mixture of native flowering species sown in the grassy margins of arable fields, which have proved to increase pollinator diversity and efficiency. (Carvell et al. 2004)


Plants that depend on the wind to carry their pollen grains (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)


Bees that construct nests in or on woody stems, twigs, and snags. Approximately 30 percent of bees are wood-nesting species, the majority occupying pre-existing holes. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)


A female bee in a social colony that does the foraging, nest construction, and tends the larvae. A worker does not lay eggs. (Shepherd, Buchmann et al. 2003)



fertilization between pollen and ovules between different genets (Roubik, 2018)


Fertilization between pollen and ovules between different genets. (Roubik 1995)


With phenotypic attributes enabling a plant to survive dry conditions. (Richards 1997)


yellow rain

The unique mass defecation flight of the giant Asian honeybee, Apis dorsata. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)



Pollinated by animals. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


(Of a flower). Bilaterally symmetrical. (Kearns and Inouye 1993)


The result of the fusion of a sperm sex cell with an unfertilized egg. Following fertilization, this zygote begins to undergo cellular division and function grows into a recognizable embryo in a matter of hours or days. (Buchmann & Nabhan 1996)