Florida Pollinators

by Julie Tennis on December 16, 2011

My husband and I recently returned from a two-week trip to Florida. One of my goals was to photograph native bees in the southern part of the state.

I’m writing from Washington State, where, upon our return, morning temperatures were in the low 20’s (F). There’s nothing in bloom in our area. Florida, on the other hand, doesn’t appear to know it is winter time. Morning temperatures in the southern part of the state were in the high 60’s and it seemed at least a quarter of the plants were in bloom.

Everywhere I looked, from downtown Tampa to Jupiter, from Big Pine Key to the Everglades, honey bees were working the blooming plants. They were by far the most abundant pollinator I saw in Florida. Second in number were butterflies of various sorts. I also saw a moth, several hummingbirds, several varieties of wasp, and four types of native bee.

The first native bee I saw was too quick to photograph. It was a beauty from the Agapostemon genus. I’ve borrowed a picture here from baynature.org:

The next native pollinator I spotted was the “long-tailed skipper,” Urbanus proteus. I’d never seen anything like it so I followed the little bugger ’till I could get a clear photo:

That was the only skipper I saw in Tampa, but there were several on a flowering “Hong Kong Orchid” in Key Largo. Here’s a close-up of one of that tree’s flowers:

I was able to capture photographs of a few other butterflies, a moth, and some other pollinators. I’ll share some more of them in my next post. Cheers! 🙂

{ 1 comment }

Athena Rayne Anderson December 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Nice photo of the skipper! 🙂

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