Today I spent an inordinate amount of time staring at a goldenrod plant (Solidago sp., Asteraceae). It’s not that I found the plant itself interesting, although it was flowering and rather beautiful. What drew my attention was the sheer number of insects the plant attracted. There were a large number of flies (order Diptera), butterflies (order Lepidoptera) and Crabronid wasps (order Hymenoptera) sipping on the flowers’ nectar.
What really excited me was that I noticed a number of jagged ambush bugs (Phymata sp., Reduviidae) sneaking around amongst the flowers.
Reduviids aren’t known for sipping nectar, they’re known for eating other insects. Sure enough, these predators were hiding among the flowers, waiting for the nectar-sippers to get close enough to catch and eat.
This was completely awesome to watch. I would have liked to get a video of the action, but it was hard enough to get clear still photos of something so small.