Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nectar Robber


On my way home tonight I decided to stop down by the Shenandoah River to see what I could see. The water was very high and passage along the bank was impossible. So I decided to walk back down the road to check out the Dutchman's Breeches I spotted as I drove in. Last week or so I wrote about finding some that had just started to come up. Well, now they are in full bloom and mixed in with the Bloodroot. When I was doing research about Dutchman's Breeches I read that they are pollinated by long tongue bees but occasionally other bees will cut holes in the sides and rob the flower of its nectar bypassing the pollen. So I decided to see if I could find evidence of that happening to this stand of flowers. Sure enough almost everyone had slits in then.



I read in my hot-off-the-press "Tracks and Signs of Insects and Other Invertebrates" by Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney that large carpenter bees, Xylocopa species, use their proboboscis to cut narrow slits in the flowers to gain access.



The photo in the guide show the tips bitten off by nectar-robbing bumblebees (Bombus) but the ones I was seeing were more like slits so I have concluded they were made by the Xylocopa species.

See more interesting things at Outdoor Wednesdays.

6 comments:

Woodswalker said...

Very cool photos!

sherri@lavenderfields said...

Beautiful up close shots! Hope you are having a great Outdoor Wednesday and have a Happy Easter! Sherri

~Cheryl said...

Terrific photos! I'd love to go to the Shenandoah River just so I could say I've been there---so cool!

Ellen Rathbone said...

Too funny. When your photo caught my eye on my list of blogs I follow, I thought to myself: HM...where did I just see a photo of Dutchman's breeches? Then, about the same time I read your title, I recalled that the photo was in reference to bees stealing nectar from the flowers...in the same book! Apparently we both sat down and read through it as soon as it arrived. Just like the Harry Potter books!

Daniela said...

Absolutely beautiful..

The Lucy and Dick Show said...

I wish we had those here... they are beautiful!