Photo: Big Lake from Highway 529
End of June saw increased activity of pollinators, especially hoverflies who are also known as flower flies or syrphid flies. If I stop and look at a fresh Ox Eye daisy I’ll usually see a variety of bees and hoverflies visiting to collect nectar and pollen from the center yellow portion. The insect family Syrphidae has over 800 species in North America. They perform a huge role as pollinators and recent studies have shown that many species’ larvae are effective in preying on garden pests such as aphids. No wonder organic gardeners are delighted to see hoverflies. Although many species mimic bees, wasps and other biting/stinging insects, hoverflies are harmless. This downloadable Key to the Genera of Nearctic Syrphidae is a wonderfully illustrated and written key to identifying hoverflies … at least down to the Genus level. I just found it and will be using it as time permits, keeping in mind that IDing insects at the species level can be a very time consuming thing, especially since the taxonomies are constantly, like most science, changing.
In the meantime here are a couple of pix of a hoverfly, Eristalis spp(?), I think, nectaring (and pollinating) Common Yarrow.
This looks like an Orange Belted Bumblebee, Bombus ternarius ,collecting nectar from the florets of an Ox Eye Daisy. Click on the image to enlarge it and check out the arrangement of the florets at the bottom of the photograph.
See Joe Bartok’s Brief Primer on ‘Aster’ology to see how this inflorescence is organized. Bartok’s web site is very good.
Another hoverfly of a different sort …
This European Skipper is feasting on nectar before going back to its common habitat — hayfields.
Peck’s Skipper on a leaf of a Spreading Dogbane, a relative of the Common Milkweed.
A break from all these bugs:
Did you see the fly on the iris above?! There is no escaping them!
I think that this Dun Skipper is one of the Three Witches —“3 small, dark, difficult-to-separate skippers that fly at the same time in similar habitats.” The other two are Little Glassy Wing and Northern Broken Dash. Here is Rick Cavasin’s photos of the Dun Skipper.
A Thread-waisted Wasp: (I think that it is an Ammophilia)
This might be a Potter (or Mason) Wasp on the OED.
Looks like the common Apis mellifera to me, on Viper’s Bugloss …
One of the “Beeflies” of Ontario, methinks.
What is going on here????
The Crab Spider has parted the florets to grab the Flower Chafer as it was nectaring on the OED. The Flower Chafer is the same as the Bee-Mimic Flower Beetle which illustrated the difficulty with common names. But I use Bee-Mimic Flower Beetle instead of T. assimilis because it is more descriptive and easier to remember than some historical botanist’s name.
Here are a pair of Bee-Mimic Flower Beetles in happier times. And here is a good article on pollinator mimicry, which helps to explain why identifying these rascals is so difficult … for me, at least.
Uh, Oh! Another (Ground?) Crab Spider laying in wait ….
A break from the bugs:
Yes, the blossom of a slowly maturing Pitcher Plant.
Back to the Bugs ….
Including yet another Crab Spider …
What do you see here? Does any word spring to mind?