Pollination is serious business--get in line, busy bee!

Butterflies and Bees: out takes

You find some funny things when you start reviewing your photo files looking for images to delete (file sizes are big these days!).

So the other day I posted a photo sequence of a Lasioglossum bee [UPDATE: chalcid wasp] lying in wait inside a flower to surprise a Cassius Blue butterfly in the act of taking a drink. In case you missed it, here’s one of the images:

Yup. But I'm not sure I want it now!

Another image I took that day was one that I hadn’t even considered posting. It was a typical throw-away image of a Martial Scrub-Hairstreak nectaring so deep behind a flower cluster that you couldn’t even see its head. It was both underexposed and (at first glance) uninteresting. Here’s a crop of the main subject, with a bit of Photoshop processing to try to bring out some detail in the badly exposed image (shooting darkish wings against a brightly sunlit white wall isn’t easy):

Martial Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon martialis), head-deep in the weeds.

Martial Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon martialis), head-deep in the weeds.

Normally I discard these underexposed images without even a second thought, but for some reason right before I hit “delete” my eye was drawn to the left of the image. I decided right away to save this one despite its rather poor technical quality because it was such an interesting and serendipitous capture of insect behavior:

Pollination is serious business--get in line, busy bee!There’s another (maybe even the same one as in my previous post!) bee waiting in line for this flower!

Here’s the full size detail of the bee; just enough to see that it is indeed a bee, and most likely in the genus Lasioglossum[UPDATE:wasp in the family Chalcidoidae].

Lasioglossum_20150903

If I’d been trying, I’d probably have had to spend hours and hours, and I still might not have been able to get even this nice an image of this tiny bee in flight. I’m amazed by the people who can take good images of flying bees insects.