Thank you for the mangoes!

Dear All – here are some pictures to share of some very important and yet overlooked insects. Mangoes are one of the most delicious and widely grown tropical fruits. In Kenya we are very lucky to have lots of mangoes available at the moment – absolutely luscious and so tasty. As we all enjoy our mangoes, perhaps we don’t spare much thought about how the mangoes came into being…

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On a recent visit to a farm in Western Kenya, the mango trees were flowering and the flowers were being visited by a wide range of pollinators. Without these hard-working insects there would be no mangoes to eat.

Here is a detailed view of a mango flower and a recently pollinated one with a very young fruit next to it:

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Here are some of the pollinators of the mango flowers – they include flies, wasps, tiny bees and ants!

Blue-bottle fly pollinating mango flower
Blue-bottle fly pollinating mango flower

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There were lots of different flies on the mango flowers
There were lots of different flies on the mango flowers
Another tiny fly on the mango flowers
Another tiny fly on the mango flowers

There were a few wasps and bees around too:

This is a tiny singless bee - very important group of pollinators
This is a tiny singless bee - very important group of pollinators
An unidentified wasp on the flowers
An unidentified wasp on the flowers

Even ants were working on the flowers:

Busy ants on the mango flowers
Busy ants on the mango flowers

The farmers in this area have a lot to be grateful for towards the wonderful diversity of insect pollinators who ensure that there are lots of yummy mangoes to harvest! More from the wonderful world of bugs soon!

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7 thoughts on “Thank you for the mangoes!

  1. Beautiful pictures, Dino! I particularly like the fly with the wild stripy eyes! (and the delicious-looking mangos..)

  2. Such a wonderful world and lovely photos! The unidentified wasp is very exciting! It is a member of the family Eucharitidae, a little-encountered family within the Chalicidoidea. Its members are parasitic on mature larvae or pupae of ants. The eggs are laid on plant parts (often on flowers), and the newly-hatched larva waits on the plant or falls to the ground (depending on the species) and attaches itself to a passing ant, hitching a ride into the ant’s nest. There it attaches itself to an ant larva and waits until its host is ready to pupate before it feeds.

  3. Fascinating, Hannah. I wondered what the two pointy appendages are on the wasp; do you know what these serve?

  4. Hi Dr.Dino Martin,
    i m working as site manager in jeff project,in multan Pakistan. the mango pollinators has been collected from over there, same as you shown here. the pics are very nice and fascinating,

  5. congratulation and thanks for wonderful pictures. Many mango varities are self incomptibible i.e. these require pollination by insects(dudu) for any fruit setting. Pollination in mango has not yet been understood fully.Mechanism and amount of pollen transfer by important Diptan flies is not yet worked out. Which is essential for exploitation of insects to increase fruit setting in mango ochards in Africa or India.
    Prof.Gajendra singh
    GBPUA&T,Pantnagar, India

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