Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pollinators and Pollinator Predators

In a stand of wildflowers by Lake Kittamaqundi: I was drawn by glimpses of cardinal flower, a native that's hard to find growing naturally, because people pick the flowers so much. (I'm trying it in my small garden at home, and it attracts hummingbirds.) Then I noticed the proliferation of pollinating insects on the other flowers and a praying mantis lurking below the flowers. The monster fly in the last photos, I learned later, is a Tachinid species. Although a pollinator itself, this fly will lay its eggs in the eggs or larvae of butterflies and moths, then the Tachinid larvae feed on their hosts.

(The cardinal flower and the related blue Lobelia can be bought at nurseries.)