I decided I needed to add more Texas Wildflowers to my photography collection so I set out to photograph flowers at Saint Edwards Park in Austin. The park was filled with wildflowers and I was able to add quite a few to my collection. I saw a cluster of Giant Spiderwort (Tradescantia gigantea) flowers and decided to photograph them even though it was already in my collection. What made this one interesting was a very tiny insect. At first I thought it was a bee or a wasp but upon further research (and confirmation by an amateur entomologist) it is a flower fly (Sphaerophoria Continua).
Flower flies (Syrphidae family) are among the most colorful and conspicuous insects found around flowers. Of the nearly 900 species in North America, most have yellow and black stripes and are excellent mimics of wasps or bees. Flies can’t sting, but sounding and looking like insects that can, makes birds and other predators avoid them. Flower flies are not only important as pollinators in farms and gardens, but they also help to control pests. About 40% of the world species belong to groups with larvae that eat aphids, scales, and other soft-bodied pests. So, next time look twice when you see an insect that looks like a wasp or bee on a flower.
This image was taken with my Sony Alpha A7R II using my Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens. The camera was set on Manual mode with the aperture set at f/10, shutter speed at 1/400th of a second and the ISO set at 800. This is a single image processed in Lightroom.
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