Saturday, August 15, 2009
809 Bloom Day #3: Buddleia is Good for Predators
I have a bit of buddleia growing among the dodonaea, and it seems butterflies aren't the only thing the sweet smelling blossoms attract. Two predators have made their home among the seductive flowers, hoping to and succeeding in preying upon whatever stops there to feed on the nectar.
There is at least one mantis (Stagmomantis californica) growing among the butterfly bush. Here he/she is hanging out under a blossom that is tucked among the dodonaea foliage which offers a quick hideout if needed when a larger predator threatens. The photo at the top of this post shows possibly the same individual (more mature, notice the wing buds) checking out the prospects at a nice new flower.
The green lynx spider, Peucetia viridans, characteristically chooses a flower toward the top of the bush out in the sun and camps out there, spinning a bit of web. Once that flower fades (as in the first photo) she begins to get a clue that it's not a very good lure anymore and is seen in the last photo to have moved on to a fresh bloom. After mating she will produce an egg sac and attach it on or near a flower so she can continue to catch prey while tending her eggs.