One of the big advantages of a prairie garden is that when good photography lighting conditions appear, it only takes me a few steps to find possible photo subjects. Since I’m hobbling around on crutches right now, that short distance is an even bigger perk.
Yesterday, I enjoyed a few minutes photographing prairie spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis) in our garden. A couple tiny hover flies (Syrphidae) were visiting the spiderwort flowers as well. While these flies are usually characterized as pollinators, that might not be completely accurate. Because they aren’t fuzzy, the flies probably don’t do much pollen transport, and essentially just “steal” pollen from the flowers. I wonder if they steal enough to have any significant impact? Regardless, through my macro lens, I was able to watch one repeatedly deploy its tongue as it fed on the bright yellow pollen.
Oh, and there were still some dew drops on the leaves, so I photographed one of those too.
Enjoy your long holiday weekend (if you’re in the U.S.), everyone!
These make me smile!
I love the detail of your photographs. And judging by my experiences walking in my own prairie the past few days, you ought to include a picture of a tick questing for a host!
Syrphids are out early! Toxomeres flies in particular are a lot of fun to watch, they’ll visit grasses too – to eat the pollen, I presume. Lasioglossum bees aren’t much bigger, but at least they’re fuzzy, and likely spread pollen around at least on Spiderwort. The flowers are a great subject, and draw a lot of visitors.
Size may be a more important factor than hairiness. The stigma and anthers are relatively far apart. Do these flies manage to make contact with both? A larger bumble bee has a better chance to rub against both. Even more peculiar are some azaleas where these flower parts are even farther apart. To make their pollination even more complicated, they depend on buzz pollination. I have to find out more about their pollination.
Aren’t Tradescantia’s the most wonderful color?
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