Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Animals in their habitat: Blister Beetles on Spring Wildflowers

 Finally! The first wildflowers and the first seasonal insects are gracing the Arizona deserts. After a relatively wet winter, poppies are popping up (ugh, sorry!) under Creosotes and around saguaros. We don't see great fields of them yet, but it's early yet. While I've never found specific pollinators on those periodic spring blooms, there are beetles that feed on pollen as well as petals of lupines, scorpion weed and poppies: several species of blister beetles, most of them in the genus Lytta. They are not the much maligned threat to life stock that some of their relatives (genus Epicauta) have become thanks to industrial hay harvesting methods. Our horses usually don't feed on poppies after all. So just enjoy those shiny little jewels! Read more about their biology in another blog chapter

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