New Delhi: Aquatic plants and their reproduction abilities have long since been a matter of great curiosity among the scientists.
There have been theories that these kinds of plant species behave differently from its terrestrial counterparts. Now, however, scientists have possibly found their bee-like secret!
According to reports, aquatic plants get pollinated by sea creatures that function similar to bees.
Even though pollination under the sea has been a 'proposed' mechanism, there is no solid evidence that could prove its existence.
Self-pollination has been considered and it has been believed that water current and waves are responsible of carrying aquatic pollen from one plant bed to another. This is why the discovery of microscopic crustaceans that function as pollinators under the sea came as a surprise.
As per Nature World News, these underwater "bees" function in the same manner as its terrestrial cousins, honey bees and butterflies, that help in the pollination of tropical seagrass. A study by the National Autonomous University of Mexico has found out the existence of tiny marine invertebrates that swarm seagrass beds. Just like how bees are attracted to nectar, these marine invertebrates are attracted to male flowers and carry pollen from one flower to another.
According to a report in Gizmodo, scientists closely observed these tiny creatures, and it seems that they are closely attracted to the pollen released by male flowers and other protein-rich excretions of female flowers. Due to the thick mucus covering of these tiny invertebrates, pollen sticks to their bodies, allowing them to carry pollen to female plants.
Although originally a hypothesis, it was to the delight of the scientists to discover that the female plants did fertilize. As per a report in Science Alert, the research lasted from 2009 to 2012, and scientists called this new form of pollination as "zoobenthophilous pollination."