Photo of the Week – June 24, 2011

Soldier beetles are often mistaken for lightning bugs but are actually predatory insects.  The spend a lot of time on flowers, and will eat pollen and nectar – and do some inadvertent pollination in the process – but their main food source is other insects, including aphids.

Soldier beetle on wild garlic (Allium canadense). Aurora, Nebraska.

Soldier beetles are a very common species in prairies and in town.  Here in Aurora, we see sometimes them in large numbers when linden trees are blooming.  This one was in my native prairie garden, hanging out on wild garlic (onion) flowers.

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.
This entry was posted in General, Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Photo of the Week – June 24, 2011

  1. Stephen Winter says:

    Yep, they’re all over the Linden trees in our yard here in Steinauer.

  2. Glad to see you promoting the prairie. The great prairie at the center of the country, where you are, stretches down into south-central Texas, where I am. I regularly go to the Blackland Prairie for photographic inspiration, as in my recent pictures of Eustoma exaltatum. We also have Allium canadense this far south, but it flowered months ago in our hotter climate. Let’s hear it for our prairies!

    Steve Schwartzman
    http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com

  3. Lauren says:

    Wow! You have amazing photos! I love all of them and they capture a great look at the prairies and wildlife!!

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