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Monday, August 19, 2013

Worth the wait

This is a follow-up to the Orobanche post on 16 August 2013.  I had wondered about the yellow linings on the lower flower petals and whether they might serve as a visual cue for pollinators. 

Well, the next day I happened to be walking by the Orobanche again.  Lewis had suggested that it would be fun to sit nearby and watch to see which pollinators visit these flowers.  I was on my way to a meeting, but I decided to give it 5 minutes.

I waited 4 minutes, and no insects had come to the flowers.  Why not?  They seemed so perfect wide open and ready for visitors.  Should I leave?  It had been 4 minutes already without any signs of activity.  But I had told myself that I would watch for 5 minutes.  So I gave it another minute.

With about 30 seconds to go, a small bee flew in!  It dove into one flower very quickly, so I waited with camera poised until it appeared (see below).  You can see it emerging head-first, crawling along the yellow nectar guides.

It then flew to at least 3 more Orobanche flowers.  Because of its small size and unpredictable flight pattern the bee was difficult to photograph.  These are the best images I have for now.  I'll be sending the pictures out for help with an identification of the bee.

A view from above:

On the way to another flower (not such a bad place to bee!):

Emerging from the "tube":

Taking off:

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