Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for October 23rd, 2011

Hemipenthes scylla

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Hemipenthes scylla bee fly on broomweed; click for more detail.

Hemipenthes scylla: that’s what entomologists call this little bee fly that characteristically hovers and darts back and forth for a long time before making up its mind to settle somewhere. This particular bee fly—one of many of its species that I’ve noticed in Austin recently—finally landed on some broomweed, Amphiachyris dracunculoides, on October 7, when I returned after some brief rain to the place where I’d photographed the gumweed shown in yesterday’s post. Valerie Bugh, who was good enough to identify this small (probably not even half an inch from wingtip to wingtip) insect for me, wrote: “There are a lot of different bee flies active now — their larvae are parasitoids of other insects so I guess the drought wasn’t too bad for them this summer.” In contrast, although I’ve been seeing small and isolated broomweed plants blossoming for a couple of months, the drought seems to have suppressed the large colonies that in other autumns have turned whole fields yellow-green with their thousands of tiny flower heads seen from afar.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 23, 2011 at 5:35 AM

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