Photo of the Week – November 20, 2014

It’s been a cold week, though we’re finally starting to warm up again.  As a way to feel a little less chilly, I went back through some photos from the summer and found these three shots from late August.  All three show indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) in a small prairie here in Aurora, Nebraska.  It’s a distinctive and attractive grass, especially when it’s in full bloom.  Enjoy!

Indiangrass in flower.  Lincoln Creek Prairie, Aurora, Nebraska.

Indiangrass in flower. Lincoln Creek Prairie, Aurora, Nebraska.

More of the same, but from a little further away.

A similar shot of a different plant, but from a little further away.

This hover fly (aka syrphid fly or flower fly) was taking advantage of the pollen on indiangrass.  While grasses are wind pollinated, flies and bees are often seen feeding on them as well (including corn plants).

This hover fly (aka syrphid fly or flower fly) was taking advantage of the pollen on indiangrass. While grasses are wind pollinated, that doesn’t mean flies and bees can’t feed on them as well (which has led to some negative impacts on bees from pest control strategies in corn fields – since corn is just a big grass).

 

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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 Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Photo of the Week – November 20, 2014

  1. elfinelvin says:

    Amazing, the beauty that exists if we’d only look a little closer. Love your macro shots.

  2. Benny says:

    More amazing shots. Thank you for the incredible inspiration. It is always a pleasure to read new posts.

  3. I’ve never seen Indian Grass blooming! What beautiful little flowers, thanks for posting.
    (P.S. I do believe i feel warmer!)

  4. James C. Trager says:

    NIce to see these warm, summery pictures, Chris. Your fly looks to me like the widely distributed Toxomerus marginatus. The larvae are pale green, somewhat maggot like critters that live among and prey on aphids.

  5. Kim Shannon says:

    Indian grass is my favorite and the state grass of Oklahoma. I can picture the anthers swaying in a summer breeze.

  6. Pollinator says:

    Toxomerus marginatus, as James said. It is a female. Females are more inclined to eat pollen than males. They need the proteins to make eggs.

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