Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Saddle Bags Full of Pollen

Bumble bees are important pollinators of many plants. Both queens and workers collect pollen and transport it back to the colony in pollen baskets on their hind legs.



Seen here are the "saddle bags" of pollen!





Milkweeds have a unique and fascinating pollination mechanism in which the plant relies on butterflies, moths, bees, ants, and wasps for pollination. Hundreds of pollen grains are packaged into two connected sacs, which is collectively referred to as the pollinarium. When a foraging insect lands on a flower, the pollinarium can easily attach itself to its leg. Once removed from the flower, the pollinia actually re-orient as the translator arms bend as they dry. Upon landing on another flower, the properly oriented pollinarium is deposited into a receptive stigmatic groove where the pollinia breaks down and the pollen germinates, growing pollen tubes through the stigma to the ovules in the ovary.



The milkweed fruit is a follicle, commonly referred to as a pod, which splits at one suture to release many seeds, sometimes hundreds, depending on the species.

11 comments:

Craig Glenn said...

Very beautiful Hannibal! The pollen lesson was cool as well.

Craig

Tina said...

THAT was very informative and just in the nick of time for me!! I am going along with a group of very experienced botanists Friday...gulp, and I really don't know much about plant life or the insects that visit them! Well done, Hannibal, and the photos are amazing!! Thanks!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Great pictures.I love the clarity of them.
Blessings,Ruth

jalynn01 said...

Quite an interesting and informative post not to mention the pictures are just beautiful... Oh did I mention how clear and detailed and beautiful your pictures are? Wow! great post.

Leeloo's mum said...

These photos are stunning! My favorite is the second one. I LOVE bumblebees, any bees for that matter, I secretly want a beehive someday ;)

Bird Girl said...

Boy, you sure are havin' fun with that macro and it is working beautifully - such detail is amazing!

Eve said...

A great post Hannibal. Needs to be in a nature mag! Pictures are fantastic!

Shellmo said...

These definitely need to be in a magazine! Outstanding photos Hannibal!!!

Nick S said...

Lovely Bee close-ups. I was just watching one through my kitchen window this evening, as our creeper vine is getting alot higher now so I can view insects without even going outside :-)

Willard said...

Top-notch photos, as is the one of the Monarch on the milkweed.

disa said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.