Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Swamp Aphrodisiac

Rainy days in the swamp tend to be slow since, for most people, slogging around the boardwalk does not typically jump to the top of the list of "Things I Need to do While Soaking Wet!" However, rainy days provide the staff at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest with time to catch up on work, including cataloging images that have been parked in folders with glamorous names such as '06_04_26_01. Yes, that translates to April 26, 2006!

While searching through the aforementioned folder for images to use in a Master Naturalist course, we came across images of insects visiting the blossoms on a Swamp Dogwood (Cornus stricta) to go along with the images we had of insects visiting the blossoms on a Button-bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) from earlier this year. The blossoms of both plants appear to be irresistible to a variety of insects. During the few minutes that we were by the Button-bush, at least three different insect species (see images) visited the blossoms. Apparently, the Swamp Dogwood blossoms smell even sweeter as two species of beetles, including a pair from the Hairy Flower Scarabs ( Genus: Trichiotinus), took the opportunity to mate. If you look closely at the image with the single large beetle, you can see at least five other insects on the blossom.

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