Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Two Bees, Two Styles, One Flower

These are two very brief videos that show how two different kinds of bees--a bumble bee and another kind much smaller--get food from a richweed flower in completely different ways. The bumblebee goes for the nectar, while the small bee in the second video climbs out on the long filament to get to the pollen-bearing anther, ignoring the rest of the flower.

I couldn't find anything online elsewhere showing this behavior, and I can't speak to whether it's common for one flower to accommodate the differing needs and capabilities of different types of bees in such a contrasting way. Richweed (Collinsonia canadensis) is also called horsebalm or stoneroot. This quote from a previous post about richweed goes well with the first video:
"Bumblebees look perfectly matched for this flower, bobbing from one to another, giving each one a bear hug as they sip the nectar. The flower is so shaped, with the stamens jutting out on either side of the flower, to appear as if the embrace is mutual."
The first video I took while talking to a friend next to our front yard raingarden.

Then along comes another kind of bee that relates to the flower in a completely different way.

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