Thursday, July 30, 2009

Macro critters

I still have lots of photos to share from our trip to Michigan, but there are some other things sitting in "the vault" that I want to address while they're still somewhat fresh in my mind.

For example, in late June I spent one afternoon after work taking a tour around parts of the Ohio University campus in search of gorgeous flowers to photograph. I was not disappointed, and I've already shared some of my flower photos over on my other blog (see Flower Power, parts 1 and 2), but I also want to share some of the critters I encountered on that afternoon.

Of course flowers attract all kinds of insects... this Sulphur on Echinacea (I'm not sure if it's a Common Sulphur or Orange Sulphur).
click to enlarge for the best view

I came across an interesting group of plantings that included succulents and pitcher plants. Pitcher plants are carnivorous.

Looks like this plant was in the beginning stages of a meal.

My very basic understanding of how pitcher plants work is that the insects are supposed to get lured within the pitcher where they will get trapped in a small pool of liquid which will gradually dissolve them. This particular bee seemed to already be dead (or stunned?) though, so I'm not sure how it would actually have made it down into the pitcher. I didn't want to touch the bee, but I did blow on it a little, and it offered no response, so that's why I assume it was either stunned or dead. If anyone out there knows the specific mechanics of pitcher plant food consumption, I'd love to hear about it or to be directed to a resource.

Stumbled across this frog in a pond. In one of my attempts to get closer to him I startled him and he hopped across the vegetation and ended up hiding himself pretty well!

And finally, a dragonfly (possibly a female Common Whitetail?).

I'll share some more of my flower photos from this outing soon!


Richard King said...

What I know of pitcher plants, especially the ones from Australia and Borneo, are that they lure insects in with colours and odours (eg flies). They have down curved hairs inside and digestive fluid at the bottom.
Sometimes certain spider species live in and around them to catch some insects for themselves. Maybe a spider got the bee. I think I can see a spider's thread in one of the photos.

Tom said...

Heather- Hmm. Interesting. Sometimes I find bees like this one just "chillin" on my garden plants and I always wonder what's up. I recently saw this species of pitcher plant for sale at a garden center here in C-bus. I think you're basic understanding of how the pitcher plant works is correct. I think you've got a female common whitetail as well.



Ginnymo said...

Awesome photos Heather! That yellow butterfly is beautiful. I've never heard of that plant that eats insects. Poor bee.. I love frogs!!! Those photos are so neat!! Great post!! Have a nice weekend!

Nature As Is said...

Wonderful post favorite is the frog shots...I haven't seen or heard one frog yet this year...I've gone to all kinds of marshes and wet lands not a sound..I have of course seen lots of Tadpols...but no frogs to be found!

Heather said...

Richard - You may be onto something with the spider thing. I did notice the spider silk in that photo, but I didn't really think too much of it upon first glance. Thanks for your input!

Tom - I guess bees need to rest, too. Thanks for confirmation on the common whitetail.

Ginny - I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. Carnivorous plants are an intriguing thing, that's for sure. I'd like to learn more about them!

Crista - Thank you. That's too bad that you haven't heard/seen any frogs this year! Spring and early summer are the froggiest times for us; I haven't heard any for about a month.

NW Nature Nut said...

I love this post. A little bit of all my favorites: flowers, bugs and frogs :)