Tuesday, 5 March 2013

More on ants and pollen

Phil Lester, the entomologist who kindly identified the ants I wrote about yesterday, has sent me some pictures of ants with Muehlenbeckia flowers, and given me permission to use them.  This is the same ant species, Monomorium antarcticum, on flowers of Muehlenbeckia complexa.
Southern ant, Monomorium antarcticum, on male Muehlenbeckia complexa (photo (c) P.J. Lester)
In the photo above there appears to be pollen caught in the hairs on the ant's head; he's walking away from a cluster of male flowers.  Here's an enlargement.

Here, another ant is on a female flower.
Southern ant, Monomorium antarcticum, on female Muehlenbeckia complexa (photo (c) P.J. Lester)
There doesn't appear to be pollen on this ant, and the flower is probably too old to pollinate; the ones above and below are more likely to have had receptive stigmas.

These photos were taken near Wellington Airport on the coast.  The plants had a major scale and mealybug infestation that was probably attracting the ants.

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