Honeybee, syrphid, and poppy

Honeybee, syrphid, poppy

 

A honeybee and the syrphid fly Toxomerus geminatus foraging for pollen from a pink and white flowered poppy. Syrphid flies do not collect pollen but eat it directly. It is a trade-off for the plant which produces nutritious pollen in abundance, some for the flies and bees, some for itself.

On the back legs of the honeybee in pollen baskets (corbicula) are a thick clumps of fresh pale pollen which will be brought back to the hive to feed developing larvae. As she moves around collecting pollen from the poppy some will scatter across the green sunburst-shaped stigma and pollinate the flower. The movements of the syrphid fly among the stamens as it feeds also scatters pollen onto the stigma but less efficiently. In a few weeks the flower will have turned into a hard, brown dry pod full of white, soft poppy seeds for halva and other sweet treats.

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