Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, October 22, 2007

Insects and flowers.

This is a tentative posting, at this stage, as I have just photographed my first ever image of a native bee on an Orchid, and I cannot wait to publish it. The Orchid is the Short-lipped Leek Orchid (Prasophyllum brevilabre). The bee appears to be one of the Stingless Native Bees.
Here is a regular "Honey Bee", coming in to one of my Tree Peonies. Note that these flowers are very great producers of pollen, so the bee is dusted with pollen. This Honey Bee is approaching a flower of a Crab Apple. This flower is in bud stage, so the bee will not be able to find the pollen yet. But, if you check the Bee's legs, it has successfully stored some pollen (from previous visits to other flowers) to take back to the hive.Here is either a wasp or a wild bee, visiting a white-flowered Cherokee Rose, (Rosa sinica alba)I am hoping to get assistance with identifying this insect (same species as the one above). If anyone has any idea of the identity of this insect, your assistance would be greatly appreciated. Kindly leave a comment below, or email me, via the "my complete profile" page.And now for something completely different. This is a Sundew. The leaves of Sundews are attractive to insects, in a deadly kind of way. They produce attractive beads of a sticky moisture. The insects come to the leaf, and they get caught, The leaves then close around the insect (eventually) and then the chemicals in the "glue" dissolve the insect, and so the plant digests the insect, gaining nutrition for itself.

In this particular case the plant has trapped 3 insects - a red-backed bug of some description, another black insect (possibly a small native bee), and a smaller insect on the lower left hand side of the leaf, which appears to be a Fungus Gnat. Apart from the fascinating, if gruesome nature of Sundews, I find them attractive, with their little rainbow-coloured dots of moisture on the tiny radiating "arms" of the leaf.

Here is a Flower Spider (OK, not an insect, technically). The flower is the same Leek Orchid plant as above, (with the native bee). These photos of the same plant were taken the day before. This is the full flower stem, just to show you what the plant looks like, as seen amongst the grass. The small Flower Spider is hiding amongst these flowers, so you can see how hard the spiders are to see. The photo above is cropped from this photo (below). Usually I notice the spiders' webs, and then look for the spider hiding away between the flowers. Often, I do not find the spider until I am processing the photo, back home on the computer.


Gaye from the Hunter said...

Fabulous post Denis !!

You are right - it is difficult to find the tiny camouflaged spiders on the orchids and close inspection of images will often reveal the creature I could not find in the field (or, had no idea that was there in the first place).

I too, love the sundews. As yet, I haven't photographed any local ones, but they should be coming into flower so I will search them out shortly - not that they need flowers to be interesting, as you have explained.

South west of WA is the place for sundews. I photographed several on my visit last year, but as yet haven't sorted photos to attempt to put names to them.


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gaye.
Thanks. Glad you liked it. The Sundews really are wonderfully complex plants. Some have attractive flowers, but I know nothing of the WA species. We get one large one here, called the Forked Sundew, which is 50 cm tall and has a large white flower - the size of a 10c piece.

With the Spiders, in the clump of Donkey Orchids I was shown photographing (in yesterday's post) there were lots of spiders floating their webs around (on the breeze), and several people found that spiders had floated their webs onto the people, or their camera tripods, and started to "explore" their new territory. Very ambitious spiders, but not threatening.

There's always something interesting out there, just waiting to be observed.