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Over 200 different species of orchid bees in the bee tribe known as Euglossini live in Central and South America. Orchid bees get their name from the male's behavior in collecting oil from orchid flowers. They store the oil in their special rear leg pockets and use it to attract females.
The specialized structure for gathering and storing chemical fragrances is unique to orchid bees. They land on a flower surface and spread lipid secretions to dissolve the compounds they want to collect. Then, they move their legs in a specific pattern to transfer and store the oily fragrant mixture in the leg pockets.
Orchid bees are a remarkable group of brightly colored insect pollinators in metallic green, gold, or blue. They have an elongated beak for extracting nectar from flowers and play an essential role in the tropical regions of the Americas.
Female orchid bees pollinate up to 74 flowering plant species belonging to 41 families. They also frequently fly long distances when foraging for nectar, so they cross-pollinate flowering plant species with low population densities. Male orchid bees pollinate certain orchid species exclusively, and the orchids could not survive without them.
Female orchid bees do not visit orchids because they do not produce nectar, but the males come to collect fragrances. Different orchids produce different scents that are attractive only to certain male orchid bees. That design assures that cross-pollination only happens within orchids of the same species. Also, some orchids are designed to match their pollen placement to the location of the pollen sacks of certain species of male pollen bees, insuring that the bees deliver the pollen to the correct orchid species.
Scientists are impressed by the intricate associations between orchid bees and the hundreds of plant species they pollinate. It is easy to say that this phenomenon is the result of evolution, requiring no intelligent design. However, once you consider the specificity of this system's design, you realize that chance is not a reasonable option.