A Batesian Mimic, The Bee Fly

Flies (Diptera spp.) are an eclectic group of pollinators with many species that mimic bees.  The bee fly or humblefly is a perfect example of a batesian mimic, a harmless fly mimicking a potentially harmful bee as a deterrent to predation.   This fuzzy little fly, reminiscent of a bumble bee, has a stout body, very long legs and a very long proboscis that allow … Continue reading A Batesian Mimic, The Bee Fly

The Blooming of the Bloodroot

Early spring heralds the blooming of woodland flowers and the awakening of bees. Most native bees are solitary and overwinter either in cocoons or as dormant adults. Even some butterflies, such as the mourning cloak, overwinter as adults. The warm rays of the sun lull the bees from their slumber coaxing them to seek out sustenance from the emerging spring ephemerals that bloom on the … Continue reading The Blooming of the Bloodroot

Spring Flowers and Wild Bees of “Slabsides”

It is hard to imagine a more fitting place to explore and observe nature than at the woodland retreat of, American naturalist, John Burroughs.   Today’s outdoor enthusiast can follow in his footsteps and sit on the porch of his rustic home called, Slabsides situated on a rocky crag overlooking Celery Swamp.    This 200 acre oasis is located in the Black Creek watershed on … Continue reading Spring Flowers and Wild Bees of “Slabsides”

Fields of Trout-Lily

Trout-lily are a true spring ephemeral with thier leaves dying back shortly after the forest canopy is leafed out.  This monocot belongs to the genus Erythronium and as its common name implies is a member of the lily family.  John Burroughs, American naturalist, offered the name fawn-lily or trout-lily as an alternative to to the less attractive name of adder’s tongue, feeling the flower was … Continue reading Fields of Trout-Lily

The Queen Bee and the Dutchman’s Breeches

The season of spring ephemerals is in the brief moment between the early thaw of spring and the moment in which the trees unfurl their leaves.  The Dutchman’s breeches is one of these woodland species that takes advantage of this window of opportunity when there is abundant sunlight on the forest floor and the days are warm enough for native pollinators to take flight.  The … Continue reading The Queen Bee and the Dutchman’s Breeches