Flies and Flowers III: Ecology of foraging and pollination


  • David W Inouye University of Maryland and Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory
  • Brendon M. H. Larson University of Waterloo
  • Axel Ssymank
  • Peter G. Kevan University of Guelph




Diptera are important flower visitors and pollinators for many plant species and in a variety of habitats. Although Diptera are not as well studied as other groups of pollinators, there is a growing literature that we review here about the ecology of their foraging behaviour and their effectiveness as pollinators. We consider (1) how their foraging is constrained by the interaction among body size, colour, and environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, wind, and light; (2) what is known about their foraging at scales ranging from their movements between flowers on a plant, between individuals in a population, and among species in a community (i.e., constancy); and (3) the evidence for effects of intra- and interspecific competition on foraging. We conclude with a discussion of the effectiveness of Diptera as pollinators. The available data suggest that Diptera exhibit many of the same foraging behaviours as other flower visitors and that they are effective pollinators in both natural and agricultural ecosystems.

Author Biographies

David W Inouye, University of Maryland and Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory

Department of Biology

Professor Emeritus

Brendon M. H. Larson, University of Waterloo

Department of Environment and Resource Studies

Associate Professor

Peter G. Kevan, University of Guelph

School of Environmental Sciences

Professor Emeritus




How to Cite

Inouye, D. W., Larson, B. M. H., Ssymank, A., & Kevan, P. G. (2015). Flies and Flowers III: Ecology of foraging and pollination. Journal of Pollination Ecology, 16, 115–133. https://doi.org/10.26786/1920-7603(2015)15




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