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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blooms Avec Bugs

A few samples from the bloom-bug continuum, April edition.

This honeybee (Apis mellifera) demonstrates technique for nectar extraction from the complicated flower of Phlomis fruticosa.  I watched honeybees working the Jerusalem sage for awhile and discovered the majority of them use this upside down position, while a few attempted to enter the nectar tube from the bottom, crawling up the lower lip of the flower.

The carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) adults are out in force now, eating the disk flowers on my daisies and seeming to especially favor the tiny flowers of the not obviously daisy-like Ozothamnus, which of course are also daisies (Asteracea).  I guess the bugs' primitive daisy radar is in line with our big-brained taxonomy.

I still haven't identified this plant since our first encounter.  Let's call it rabbitbrush for now and possibly ever.  The lygus bugs that live on this plant haven't changed either, and have either arrived or arisen from their overwintering just like in springs past.  I think this one is Lygus lineolaris, but it could be another similar species.  Lygus bugs are well-known plant pests, but the rabbitbrush seems to prevail.

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