Why the long face?

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday, 23 July 2011 16:57

Well, to accommodate Bombus hortorum's long tongue. Why the long tongue then? So that it can get into long flowers such as the labiates and legumes. Yes, I've been on a bumblebee course ran by Mike Edwards on  behalf of the Trust at Lewes Railway Lands and the Linklater Pavilion today. Bumblebees have always been a bit of a blind spot for me but I have definitely made progress today. Bombus hortorum was a new one for me although it is very common. We saw one queen Bombus hypnorum but it got away.

We also saw lots of Bombus lapidrius, a very common bee that I have seen before but it's nice to know how to recognise the males too. The top photo is of a queen, the bottom one a male.
We spotted a few other things around the site that I had not seen before including a bee specific to Red Bartsia called Melitta tricincta and a small dark cranefly called Nigrotipula nigra.

However, this photo is best of all. This poor little sucker (I have no idea what species of fly this is) flew straight into a spiny bract on some Teasel and impaled itself! Flying is dangerous business and you should always look where you are going.

2 Response to "Why the long face?"

Crispin Says:

Poor fly!
It is almost like something from a cartoon!
I couldn’t help but laugh!

Charles Roper Says:

I'm somehow reminded of the deliciously grisly end to Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon.

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