A journey into the eyes and mind of a naturalist.

Life and Death on a Flower

Watching the ebb and flow of various insects to a single flower is far more exciting that one would think.  Each insect runs a gauntlet of predators that hide behind every petal waiting for their moment to strike.

I watched this crab spider sit motionlessly next to a petal.  It had several prey items come close, but none within striking distance.  The spider was small but could have easily taken out an ant or small bee.

I watched this small Sweat Bee as it meticulously tapped each flower for its nectar reward.  Little did it, or I, know that it was being watched.

As the Sweat Bee neared the edge of the flower clump this wasp (I think it’s a wasp but I’m really not sure) pounced and began stinging the bee.  They dropped below the flower and out of sight.  A moment later the wasp emerged with the dead, or paralyzed, bee in its grasp.  The wasp flew off with the bee in its clutches.

Even the traditionally predatory wasps and hornets are opportunistic.  They will feed on the free meal of nectar until a more inviting opportunity presents itself.  I have seen hornets and wasps, like the one above, passively tapping nectar one moment and the next they are attacking a nearby caterpillar or moth.  These opportunists will make a meal out of any insect that lets its guard down.

A flower can be a symbol of life and a symbol of death.  Next time you walk by some flowers take a moment to stop and see what is really going on.

Up Next:  The Bumbles


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