Friday, June 5, 2020
Bee mimicking fly on flowers of Phalaris arundinacea cultivar
I was taking macro photos of the flowers of my ornamental Phalaris arundinacea 'Strawberries and Cream" when I noticed several small (less than 5 mm) bee-like insects rummaging on the inflorescence.
The vast majority of grasses are wind-pollinated of course, but there have been cases of insect pollination, including by hoverflies.
The specimens visiting the grass flowers were identified as Toxomerus geminatus by Jeff Skevington in a Facebook group for hoverflies of the world.
In these hoverflies, the insect eats the pollen directly using its extended proboscis, and facilitates pollination when pollen sticks to it and transfer during its visit to another flower.
There were perhaps 3 or 4 total of the bee-mimicking hoverflies on the flowers at any one time, and at first I was thinking they actually were small solitary bees, although a quick look at the photos shows the single pair of wings and stubby antennae that mark them as flies.
I have to admit it was interesting to see them at work, although taking good pictures was doubly difficult because of the high winds at the time.
A couple more pics below. Enjoy!