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Monday, October 11, 2010

Orchid pollination - in progress.

Dear Reader.
What is my catch cry? - "Never leave home without your camera, Denis!"

What did I do today?
Yes, that's right - left home without my camera.
How stupid am I?
(Answers to that question may or may not be published, Dear reader).

I know you don't need an explanation, but my brother Brendan and I were intending to visit a friend, but he was not home, so we decided to take a quick drive to look at some Waratahs in the bush.

While out, we looked at the Waratahs and also some Orchids (of course).

Now I had photographed these Orchids on the weekend, and so (I thought) I did not need my camera anyway.

You know the rest, already, or can guess it, Dear Reader!


Fortunately, my brother had his little "point and shoot" camera with him, so we have some images - but not as nice as I would have liked, but far better than the ones I could not take (with my camera sitting on my bed at home).

I went looking to show Brendan a case moth I had seen busy devouring an Orchid. Now for an Orchid fancier, there are few things more insulting than seeing a caterpillar devouring one's favourite flowers. This is one of the many Orchids in the group known as "Golden Moth" Orchids. It is Diuris chryseopsis - the "Snake Orchid"
A "Case Moth" devouring my beloved Orchid.
Technically, it is the caterpillar of the Case Moth
The Caterpillar uses silk to encases itself
with tiny bits of grass (in this example).
That shields the little bugger while it happily destroys the flower!
In this case it has webbed two flowers (on the one stem) together.
Next we found this European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)
It was climbing all over a particular Orchid flower.
On close examination it had the Orchid's "pollinia" stuck on its "nose".
(Insects do not have "noses" for breathing, as we do.)
There is a "V-shaped" creamy yellow object on the front of its head.
David Jones says in his book that he pollen of Diuris Orchids is
a soft mealy substance.
Here it is again, a bit closer, this time.
The V-shaped object is clearly visible,
pointing away from the Bee's "nose".
Here you can see the Bee wandering around.
It is facing away from the camera.
The pollinia are still visible to the top-right of the Bee.
Underneath the Bee, in another flower on the same plant,
is a little brown beetle totally drunk on whatever chemicals
the Orchid produces to attract insects.
It did not move the whole time we watched the Bee,
including when the Bee climbed into the same flower.
And for good measure, in another flower, there was a native black Bee.
I cannot swear to this a being true, but it looks to me that this Bee has something white stuck on its rear end.
Could that be several pieces of Orchid pollinia?
The "jury is out" on that question.

Q and A

  • Q. So, dear reader - what is the moral of today's story?
  • A. Never leave home without your damned Camera, Denis!
Oh, by the way, this is one of the wild Waratah plants
which we went out in the bush to see.
A perfect specimen of Telopea speciosissima
By the way, lest I appear ungrateful
I should thank my brother, Brendan
for supplying these photos.


mick said...

Hmm! Well, we've all done that sometime! And not all of us have had a relative with a camera! Very interesting photos with all the insects on the flowers.

Gouldiae said...

G'day Denis,
Haven't quite left my camera at home yet, but have left it in the car while I, ".... just walk a 100m into the scrub and have a look ...", and there'll be a bird shot to die for.
With HBW's yesterday while we were all on our bellys snapping a Brown Beak orchid, a small spider kept zooming on and off the petals of the plant. It had a web network connecting it to the orchid, some nearby grasses and possibly another nearby orchid. All set up for the first pollinating insect to come along.

Flabmeister said...

Obviously good photography runs in the family. Great images which i have passed on to some others.

I will not comment on leaving the camera, since it might cause others to comment on me going out without my binoculars.


Wilma said...

You will just have to go back, this time with your camera! And soon, before all thea action is over. ;-)

Denis Wilson said...

Well, I had hoped for a few more confessions. It seems the birders are the most prone to forgetting things. Of course, the flightiness of birds, in every sense, is why Orchids are better to photograph than birds.
Wilma has hit the nail on the head. I do have to go back, don't I.
At least these Orchids are easy enough to find. Unlike the previous ones which are less than 4 inches high, and far from obvious, even when one knows which side of a particular tree to look.
Thanks folks.

Anonymous said...

Great bracts on the Telopea Denis!!!! I will send you a better photo of bracts though shortly

catmint said...

lovely post - thank you Brendan for supplying the pics. At the moment I only have a point and shoot and do find it limiting. But sometimes I just like to look and not be bothered by taking a photo. That is my true confession!

Miss Eagle said...

Gee, your picky, Denis. I reckon those photos are jolly good. Love the Waratah, particularly.

Blessings and bliss

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Kirsten, Miss Eagle and Catmint.
Many thanks.
I'll pass the comments on to Brendan.
Yeah, the Waratah came out very nicely indeed.
It is a great year for Waratahs down in the bush.