The Atavism

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Spinelessness - Christmas dinner

Sunday Spinelessness may have been on hiatus for Christmas and the New Year but the spineless themselves don't observe holidays. During my break in the sunny Wairarapa I've been keeping and eye, and a couple of lenses, on some of the backyard bugs and if I was to say one thing about them it would be that they are hungry

Take the Sidymella crab spiders (previously featured on these pages) hiding in the Christmas Lilies and in particular on dahlia flowers:

crab spider on dahlia

On a sunny morning you can usually find one of these tiny spiders on every second flower. It took me some time to work out what was keeping all these spiders the fed. The flowers two most frequent visitors, ants and bumblebees, don't prompt so much as a twitch from those elongated font legs. It wasn't until Christmas day that I found my answer. Fill to the brim with my own Christmas lunch I wandered down to the back garden and saw a Sidymella tucking into its own meal - a small nectar eating fly whose taxonomic position I couldn't guess at.

xmas dinner

I was very pleased when I wandered back to the house to upload the photos from the camera. Not just because I had the answer to my puzzle, but because a tweet from my scibling Brendan let me know I wasn't the only person in the country spending some of Christmas photographing spiders (his impressive jumping spider is here).

Having found at least one of the items on the crab spiders' menu it became clear the fly is pretty common too. It's no surprise that the bright yellow dahlias are one if the flies favourite haunts.

nectar eating fly

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Posted by David Winter 8:51 AM


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