Blog Site by Appointment to His Regal Majesty the Maalie King

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mimic

I wonder what you think this is?

Did you think this was an insect? Some sort of fly, maybe? Actually, it's a flower of the Fly Orchid Ophrys insectifera. Evolution has generated a flower that mimics the Digger Wasp, which even emits an insect pheromone that attracts the wasp. The insect attempts to "mate" with the flower and in so doing picks up pollen that can be transferred to another flower to ensure fertilisation.





A Digger Wasp









I found a couple of flowering spikes of this rare plant in my research site at Roudsea Woods and Mosses National Nature Reserve. In fact, I observed a digger wasp actually settled on a flower, but by the time I had excitedly fumbled with my camera focus, it had flown away.

Here is a more complete picture of the plant

The habitat of the Fly Orchid - outcrops of limestone in woodland

22 Comments:

Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

I love the bit about how it flew away while you fiddled with your camera focus :)
The limestone outcrop was interesting too. Amazing how often I have heard them mentioned in our paper.
I am about to start revising for the exam. First topic all about the exotic predators doing us such harm. Not the most cheerful of subjects.

10:12 am  
Blogger Tina said...

Hi Maalie, can you give me the link again for your friends blog?

2:13 pm  
Blogger Tina said...

thank you for visiting my blog, I felt honored.

2:14 pm  
Blogger TCA said...

Intelligent design in action! Surely nothing so complex could be created by the random forces of evolution. It is truely a miracle. Praise the Lord.

2:20 pm  
Blogger elleeseymour said...

That's an excellent close up of the digger wasp, does it have a nasty sing? As tca, evolution and nature is truly amazing.

5:41 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Ellee, TCA is just being runcible!!

6:09 pm  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

I love that word runcible ;-) I think my resolution for my next decade is that I should be more runcible!

7:00 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Yes Kiwi, please be runcible. Maalie shouldn't have the monopoly on runcibility!

8:48 pm  
Blogger simon said...

I think the world was created last week.....
Global warming is a sign of end times and that I will be ruptured (raptured? cannot remamber). So i bought a bigger car...

BUT if you send me 10% of your gross income I might be able to help you.

5:04 am  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Unbelievable as this sounds, we appear to have some loons here in KiwiLand intent on setting up a dinosaur/creationist park. I am sure to blog about it later. I am stunned we have the same kind of stupidity here as in the US.

6:25 am  
Blogger Merisi said...

@ Kiwi:
Are you sure they haven't been sent over by Him? :-)

@ Maalie:
Is it possibe that I have seen this orchid before, somewhere in Austria or the US? I feel that I know that plant.

@ Simon:
Give us your bank account number,
and your passwort, and we shall procede as we see fit (btw, if you moved to the US, your bigger car would be tax deductable - no kidding!). :-)

Ocemn - third try, and by Him, I am sure I typed the other passwords correctly!

7:52 am  
Blogger Maalie said...

Merisi: The Fly Orchid occurs across Europe from Ireland eastwards as far as Romania and Russia, and from northern Italy and northern parts of former Yugoslavia as far north as Sweden, Norway and Finland. But I have not traced any records of it in the New World.

10:06 am  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

What about the bee orchid?

Kiwi: why don't you go onto some of our American friends' blogsites and tell them all about your new park? I'm sure you would have a great influx of visitors? Maybe even the great man himself!

It's kefjim today.

11:52 am  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

I am toooooo busy learning about leiopelma frogs and tuatara and moa just at present. These are all animals (or ancestors) that came with NZ when we split off from Gondwanaland about 80 million years ago. I don't have time to discuss 6000 year old dinosaurs just at present. But thank you for your very kind suggestion about increasing my traffic and getting someone famous in my comments box. I am a shy girl at heart though and am quite happy being my only visitor;-)

12:05 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Aw come on Kiwi, surely you, shy as you are, could cope with Mr Bush.
Maalie: please look at Abraham's site. Apart from another brillian photo, he has a disturbing photo of a murdered bird, and I really would like your comments on it. (I am not stirring or being runcible, beaver's paw!)
Word;: ismit

12:21 pm  
Blogger Tina said...

thanks again for the gracious comment Maalie.

6:53 pm  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

I'll stick with Moa for now lorenzo. Did you know they were the heaviest ratites ever?

9:23 pm  
Blogger Ju's little sister said...

Kiwi - I didn't know about this park, why am I so out of the loop - where, who? How? Maybe I should just search www.nzherald.co.nz ???


Hi Maalie - sorry Plumps and I have been busy having a boring life. We'll be back in force soon.
JLS

3:13 am  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

The NZ Herald link is :
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=288&objectid=10443259
Possibly too long to see here. I used 'dinosaur park' in the NZ Herald search and it brought it up. It was in Friday's paper (June 1). Perhaps it is pie in the sky dreaming at $30 million. The Herald have categorised it in their "primary education" section. Maybe I should write them a letter. But I gotta get on with my study...

3:32 am  
Blogger Rachel Joyce said...

I have never seen such amazing insects in this country until we spent the last 18 months turning it into a wildlife meadow.
My son was attacked by nasty blood-sucking insect we identified as a "cleg" - anticoagulated him and latched on for dear life!! The blood was everywhere when we knocked it off!! The worst thing is that his friends think he's making it up as they don't believe in such an insect called a cleg in the UK!!

11:23 am  
Blogger Rachel Joyce said...

sorry - deleted what we turned into a wildlife meadow by mistake- our paddock

11:25 am  
Blogger Rachel Joyce said...

I've just put up a picture of something I found in my garden on my blog - looks like a pupa or a big poo! ? very large moth pupa.
If anyone has any ideas about what it is, can they let me know?
thanks

11:47 am  

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