Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Flower visitors

I enjoy watching flower visitors. Are they collecting nectar or pollen (or both)? How are they visiting the flowers? Many are effective pollinators, transferring pollen between flowers, but not all are.

This bumblebee was sonicating ('buzzing') horsenettle flowers (Solanum carolinensis) to discharge pollen. Then, they take the pollen back to provision underground brood cells. About 8% of the world's plant species require 'buzz pollination' to effectively transfer pollen to stigmas.

Some large bees (such as this carpenter bee) 'rob' the nectar of available flowers, such as this Salvia, poking a hole in the base of the flower (corolla) tube.

Butterflies rely on nectar for a source of energy as adults, some getting energy from rotting fruits. Some will collect salts and minerals from shallow puddles, dung, or salty spots. Here's a silver-spotted skipper visiting a bee balm flower for nectar, getting an energy-rich boost.








Photo note:
My gardening companion took the horsenettle and bee photo, and a fellow educator just sent me the photo of the skipper visiting bee balm.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos. I'd never heard of buzz pollination or poking holes in the flower to reach the nectar. So interesting.

    ReplyDelete

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