I thought I'd conduct a quick experiment today - find out how many insects that can be located on ONE species of native wildflower in a local meadow. All the shots on this blog post were taken on the same plant, Wild Angelica (Angelica sylvestris) - a large common wildflower that can grow well over 2m in height. It can be found in most habitats except heavy shaded areas. It has a broad flowering head, containing many individual flowers and can be larger than an adult hand outstretched. Insects seem to find it irresistible!
The first insects that grab your attention on this flower are the hoverflies - a wonderfully diverse family of pollinating insects, they number well over 250 species in the UK. Usually striped or banded to mimic bees and wasps, they often get mistaken for these other insects by the uninitiated. The largest of these on our plant today was the erastalis sp. which are quite large honeybee mimics:
The next insect was also a hoverfly, and this one is smaller and neater than the previous species. Marked as a wasp mimic, the eupeodes species is striking in colour and appearance. No is the best time to see them, as their numbers peak in later August, and some may even last up until the first frosts of autumn:
The next insect was another strikingly beautiful hoverfly from the syrphus species. These commonly seen pollinators will be seen in most flowering gardens throughout summer and can make great macro subjects for photography :
Alongside all the hoverflies and true fly species that frequent these plants, there is another visitor that is a most welcome sight. The wild honeybee can be found slowly feeding and farming the product from these flowers. The honeybee is a sight that is all to uncommon nowadays, especially where I usually photograph my macro subjects. What a treat to see so many on these wonderful plants - we need to save our bees!
It constantly amazes me how our pollinating insects work, and how they survive despite man's best efforts to eradicate their natural food sources. Wild flowers are declining, and so then, our the bees. Agricultural land has taken over from wild flowering meadows, and my only meadows near me for some distance are on a protected nature reserve - this isn't how it should be. Go out and have a look for your local wild flowers, and spend a moment looking at the insects that feed on it, and give them a little love !
About this blog:
Photographic adventures from from behind the DGPix Wildlife & Nature Photography lens!