Plant-Insect Interaction: Syrphid fly feeding on grass pollen

flowerflygrass

Syrphid fly (Diptera: Syrphidae) collecting pollen and nectar from the flower head of a true grass (Poaceae). Photographed 06/28/2013 near Clayton, Michigan.

True grasses (Poaceae) are typically wind-pollinated plants. From their tall flower heads they cast pollen containing male gametes into the breeze. Some of the pollen may land on the female parts of flowers, resulting in fertilization. Although insects aren’t necessary for their reproduction, the copious amount of pollen occasionally attracts them.

flowerflygrass2

Syrphid fly (Diptera: Syrphidae) collecting pollen and nectar from the flower head of a true grass (Poaceae). Photographed 06/28/2013 near Clayton, Michigan.

The other day I noticed a number of syrphid flies (Diptera: Syrphidae) crawling all over the flower heads of this unknown grass. With relatively few plants flowering at this location this time of year, the abundant grass pollen must have presented a welcome food source for these flies.

Advertisements

About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Organism Interactions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Plant-Insect Interaction: Syrphid fly feeding on grass pollen

  1. Very interesting, and the photos are really well done.

    Like

  2. Marc says:

    Thanks for the post – I’ve seen lots of those flies and never knew their name. Now I do!

    Like

  3. Jeremy Sell says:

    They’re also commonly called hover flies or flower flies.

    Like

  4. Wildlife TV says:

    Nice effective mimicry; at a quick glance they look very much like wasps.
    Great photos!
    -Nick

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s