The Atavism

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Spinelessness - Dipteran Deathtrap

Purple rhodo

Don't let the photo fool you, I haven't run out of pictures or stories of spineless critters to share here. Since we have a garden with the Dunedin City Council's purview we are, if not legally then morally, obliged to have two large purple flowering rhododendrons like the one photographed above but, lovely as the flowers might be, this post is not about them. Each of the flowers on our purple rhodos (and not the other varieties it seems) has a peculiar defence to infestation. As they develop they produce sticky hairs that act just like that sticky flypaper you can buy - trapping small creatures that happen to crawl across them like this hapless fly:


Hunting around the young shoots you can see spiders and beetles that have met the same fate but it seems it's the true flies of the order Diptera that suffer most and probably the soldier flies that do worst of all:


I realise most people will think taking photographs of dead flies is more than a little macabre but I contend there is something quite beautiful about a crane fly suspended gracefully by its long legs


Or even a predatory robber fly caught, as if in mid-flight.


Ok, I promise I'll find something a bit more uplifting for next week's post!

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Posted by David Winter 9:15 AM


Great post!
Why you have the plant in your garden and a little bit about it here

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