Monday, June 25, 2012

Introduction: Flowers and their many visitors

Everywhere I go, I love to stop and look at flowers -- or rather, at what is on flowers.  Flowers attract a multitude of visitors, including not only bees and butterflies, but also moths, wasps, ants, flies, beetles, bugs, spiders, mites, birds, bats and more.  Although we enjoy flowers for their sweet aromas and bright colors, in nature, flowers are the stage for desperate struggles for survival.  Many flower visitors are only making a quick stop for a drink of sugar-rich nectar, but others come seeking a refuge from bad weather or a nursery for their offspring.  Yet others are in search of mates or are waiting to ambush their prey.  As they travel from flower to flower, many visitors aid plant reproduction by transporting pollen; however, they may also bring diseases that will sterilize the plants they infect or parasites that will wait to catch a ride on the next visitor.  If you look closely, you are likely to see much more than just another pretty flower.

Fascinating events are unfolding every day, and they can be watched just outside, in the backyard.

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