Rattlesnake Canyon
Wayne's WordIndexNoteworthy PlantsTriviaLemnaceaeBiology 101BotanySearch
 Owens Peak   San Marcos & Merriam Mts   Iron Mt   Flies: Diptera   Bees: Hymemoptera   Oaks in San Diego County 
Rattlesnake Canyon: Poway, California
© W.P. Armstrong 10 May 2009

Seep monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatas) and bright red Indian pink (Silene laciniata ssp. laciniata) growing among the granodiorite boulders of a steep canyon.

Bee Fly (Order Diptera; Family Bombyliidae)

These furry flies have a long, rigid proboscis for sipping nectar from flowers. On warm, sunny days bee flies are often seen hovering over flowers or resting on the ground. While hovering, they probe flowers for nectar with their long proboscis, like miniature hummingbirds. They are fast-moving flyers and probably evade predators lurking in the flowers (ambush bugs and crab spiders) by not actually landing on the flower. Many pupal cases were seen in the vicinty, in or around small holes in the ground dug by solitary bees (family Andrenidae). The larvae of bee flies are parasitic on the larvae of solitary bees within their burrows. The bee fly in the following images with a prominent proboscis was identified as Bombylius montanus by Dr. Neal Evenhuis of the Bishop Museum, Hawaii. They are typically parasitic on bees of the genus Anthophora (Apidae). According to Dr. Evenhuis, this is a relatively rare species also known from Walker Pass in the southern Sierra Nevada.

Bee fly pupal cases within or near the burrows of solitary bees.

This furry fly has a long, rigid proboscis that it uses for sipping nectar from flowers. The fly in upper image was hovering as the picture was taken. Note the rotated wings.

A hovering bee fly next to the burrow of a solitary bee. Note the twisted wings caught with the high speed flash (1/640 sec). This species was identified by Dr. Neal Evenhuis of the Bishop Museum. It belongs to the genus Paravilla.

  See More Images Of Bee Flies  

Digger Bees In Rattlesnake Canyon

Digger Bee (Family Anthophoridae: Genus Anthophora)
These Solitary Bees Make Circular Holes (Burrows) In The Ground

  Digger Bees In Twin Oaks Valley  

A solitary bee burrowing into the ground (white arrow in top image). After hovering around to find their burrow, they quickly dart into the entrance with surprising speed. These bees are very wary when a photographer is standing near the entrance to their burrow. They are aware of the objects and spatial relationships around the entrance. In fact, this is how they locate the entrance to their nest.

A deceased digger bee next to its burrow.

A solitary burrowing (digger) bee of the genus Anthophora (Family Anthophoridae).

Tunnel entrance to digger bee burrow. Sony WX1 in macro mode (1/25 sec, F 7.1, ISO 125)

Thread-Waisted Wasp (Sphecidae: Ammophila)

  Thread-Waisted wasp in Butler Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert  

Harvester Ant (Formicidae: Subfamily Myrmicinae)

Harvester ants carrying the plumose achenes of smooth cat's ear (Hypochaeris glabra). This is presumably the widespread genus Messor. Nests of the red California harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex californicus) are nearby and the two species appear to tolerate each other. These ants provide the vital diet for the coast horned lizard (Phrynosoma coronatum). Unfortunately, our native ants have been eliminated throughout coastal San Diego County by the aggressive Argentine ant (Iridomyrmex humilis).

  Desert Harvester Ants & Dyeweed  
See Images Of The Argentine Ant

A seemingly endless supply of Hypochaeris anchenes, each with a plumose pappus resembling a miniature parachute. Like the dandelion, this naturalized plant is well-adapted for wind dispersal.

  See Blowing In The Wind  

Desert harvester ant (Messor pergandei).

Left: Magnified view of the head of a desert harvester ant (Messor pergandei). Right: California harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex californicus). Note hairs and parallel vertical lines (grooves) on red harvester ant. [B & L dissecting microscope with Sony V-3.]

California harvester ant nest (Pogonomyrmex) with winged adults. These may be P. subnitidus rather than P. californicus.

Order Homoptera: Family Cicadidae (Cicada)

A cicada on white sage (Salvia apiana).

  See The Insect Order Homoptera  

Saururaceae: Anemopsis californica (Yerba Mansa)

  See California Herbal Remedies  

Primulaceae: Samolus parviflorus (Water Pimpernel)

Fabaceae: Trifolium obtusiflorum (Creek Clover)

Euphorbiaceae: Acalypha californica (California Copperleaf)

The Very Diverse Euphorbia Family  
  Other Species In The Euphorbia Family  

Pteridaceae: Pentagramma triangularis ssp. maxonii (Maxon's Silverback Fern)

Caryophyllaceae: Silene laciniata ssp. laciniata (Indian Pink)

Return To WAYNE'S WORD Home Page
Go To Biology GEE WHIZ TRIVIA Page