When I wrote about spring ephemerals a few weeks ago, I mentioned that these flowering plants attract a wide variety of insect pollinators. Recently I’ve seen many insects pollinating Virginia spring beauties (Claytonia virginica, Portulacaceae). Here are some of those insects:
The most important pollinators may be the bees (superfamily Apoidea). These insects collect nectar for food, and pollen to feed their larvae.
Ants (family Formicidae) are also important pollinators:
A large number of flies (order Diptera) enjoy sugary nectar:
One family of flies known as common midges (family Chironomidae) have adults that may feed 0n nectar. Many, however, do not feed at all. Their adult forms exist solely for reproduction. The individual below seemed more interested in finding a mate than eating, but her presence on the flowers could inadvertently spread pollen.
I found all of these insects in a span of only about fifteen minutes. I imagine these flowers, as well as other spring ephemerals, attract many more insects than I observed in this short time.