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Posts Tagged: Mexican sunflower

Musical Flowers: Jockeying for Position

A black syrphid fly aims for the same Mexican sunflower, occupied by another syprhid fly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

You've heard of "musical chairs," that anxiety-driven elimination game involving chairs, music and players.  When the music stops and a chair is eliminated, the players race for the remaining seats. No one wants to be the first loser. Well, insects, too, play "musical chairs," but with...

Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Autumn's Majesty: Tithonia

A Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae, lands on a Mexican sunflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

If there's any flower that should be crowned "Autumn's Majesty," that would be the Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia), aka "Torch."A member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae), it carries "the torch of life" throughout spring, summer and autumn, but it's especially important in autumn when...

Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 5:00 PM

A Bright Face in the Garden: Banded Argiope

A banded garden spider, Argiope trifasciata, stretches out near its wrapped bee in a Vacaville, Calif. pollinator garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

We have bright faces in our Vacaville, Calif., pollinator garden. The bright faces are usually that of assorted bees and butterflies nectaring on members of the sunflower family: Mexican sunflower (Tithonia) and blanketflowers (Gaillardia). But we did not expect to see this bright face: a...

Posted on Monday, September 11, 2017 at 5:01 PM

A Tiger by the Tail

A longhorn bee, probably Melissodes agilis, has this

One of Buck Owens' signature songs that never failed to please his fan base was "I Got a Tiger by the Tail." The Country-Hall-of-Fame singer, who died in 2006 at age 76, said the lyrics came to him after he noticed a gas station sign advertising "Put a tiger in your tank." (Source:...

Posted on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 4:22 PM

The Bee and the Tiger

A male longhorn bee, probably a Melisoddes agilis, targets a Western tiger swallowtail nectaring on Tithonia in Vacavile, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Talk about a butterfly ballet... A large Western tiger swallowtail, Papilio rutulus, with a wingspan of about four inches, flutters into the Vacaville, Calif. pollinator garden and lands on a Mexican sunflower (Tithonia). It proceeds to nectar, unaware that the patch "belongs" to a male...

Posted on Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 4:39 PM

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