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These orchids have crabs

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  • Peter Bernhardt
    Dear Friends and Colleagues: Irene Palmer helps maintain Orchis Banks the area Charles Darwin used to study wild orchids for his book On the Various
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 18, 2011
    Dear Friends and Colleagues:

    Irene Palmer helps maintain "Orchis Banks" the area Charles Darwin used to study wild orchids for his book "On the Various Contrivances By Which Orchids Are Fertilised By Insects" (1862).  This requires cyclical surveys of different species at the site.  She snapped these wonderful photos of crab spiders on Orchis coriophora.  Note the pollinia on the dead drone fly (Eristalis).  before looking at the photos please read her full message below.

    Peter 

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: irenejohnpalmer <irenejohnpalmer@...>
    Date: Thu, Nov 17, 2011 at 9:42 AM
    Subject: Orchid pollination
    To: Carol Siegel <growlove@...>
    Cc: Peter Bernhardt <bernhap2@...>, Retha Meier <rmeier3@...>


    We're busy doing some scanning, so thought you might like to see these. I don't think I've sent them before. Bear with me if I have. Anyway I'm sure you know the male crab spider is the tiny one and his large mate will eat him if he doesn't please her. The other shows a bug orchid, Orchis coriophora and a drone fly Eristalis tenax with pollinia; it resembles a bee. We didn't notice the crab spider initially, it was so well disguised. I fear the fly was dead. (A handsome male fox is on our yard and has just peered through the glass door at me. Its getting dark early but the sun is still shining strongly, although its going down; a lovely autumn day)
     
    Best wishes, Irene

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