Friday, July 20, 2018

Echinacea Eatery, Part 1: The Perils of Pollinators!

I took this video in hopes of helping with identification of the butterfly which I found nectaring on Purple Cone Flower next to McDowell Creek.  I didn't even see the predators until I got home and put the clips on my computer.   In the first two clips, you can see a Jagged Ambush Bug (Phymata sp.) in the lower right hand side of the disk-florets.  (You can tell Phymata by their conglomeration of shapes and enlarged front legs--green in this case!)  

Next, a crab spider appears (Misumenoides formosipes).  I can't believe that with the naked eye I didn't even see the spider stalking the butterfly!   The butterfly (turned out to be a Silvery Checkerspot) leaves just in time.  However, the final clip shows other, smaller insects moving around inside the flower disk.  The spider's day isn't over yet.

Both the Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea purpurea) and the Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis) like moist prairies and streamsides.  Despite the drought, E. purpurea is flourishing and numerous, not only in the stream buffer where this drama took place, but throughout the prairie restoration in our Creek Field.

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