Rudbeckia’s visitors

If I were giving out an award for the most social flower of the year, black-eyed susan would win. One fun day, I spent the morning checking and rechecking on them, noticing and admiring the diversity of insects that were attracted to the blossoms. About two-thirds of these photos are from that one day alone.

Bees:

likely a bumblebee on the right side of the center disk, facing downward

metallic green been in the same position

unidentified smaller bee on the left of the center disk, curled and facing downward

possibly a megachile, on top of the center disk, with legs full of orange pollen

Flies:

really big fly with hairs, possibly a tachinid, on top of the center disk

long-legged fly standing out on one of the petals

Flies that look like bees:

bee mimic with a wide abdomen

much smaller bee mimic, or hoverfly, hovering to the left of the center disk

Butterflies:

tattered monarch sitting on the right side of the flower

Eastern tiger swallowtail with wings outstretched, tilted toward the camera, on the right side of the flower

Bees and butterflies:

gray butterfly, possibly a hairstreak, on the left side, and a long-horned bee on the right, their antennae crossing in the middle

Lacewing:

sitting on a petal in the front of the picture, facing downward

Aphids:

a blurred stem with two large red aphids and several smaller red aphids, in front of a black-eyed susan

Beetle:

beetle perpendicular to a tall center disk, with a dark red body and wing shells that blend in with the flower disk

Japanese beetle doing the splits:

beetle on the petals facing up

Leafhopper:

small green insect tucked into the fold where the petal meets the flower's center

I don’t know what this is:

patterned brown insect with long antennae, climbing up a tall center disk

Inchworm:

skinny green caterpillar holding onto a petal with its head hidden behind the center disk

And my favorite find, a camouflaged looper inchworm:

curved brown caterpillar hanging off the right side of the center disk

(More about this one later.)

There was also this gruesome find — one dead bee on a petal, with two dead bees and one dead fly suspended below — but then again, a spider’s gotta eat, too. (I assume that’s what created this scene.)

tall image of a flower with four dead insects, three hanging below the flower but no visible spiderwebs

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2 comments on “Rudbeckia’s visitors

  1. Wow, I never seem to see many pollinators on Rudbeckia… but maybe it’s because I mostly have R. subtomentosa. Do you see them on that species also? Not totally sure if any of these photos were R. sub… maybe the last one was?

    • Crystal Colby Mulry says:

      Hmm. What I’ve been calling my “black-eyed susan cultivar” might be R. subtomentosa, so thanks for that suggestion. I seem to be going down a rabbit hole trying to identify it right now; may need to write another post about my native orange coneflower vs. what I call my “black-eyed susan cultivar” (which visually looks like the same plant – R. fulgida). Wish I would have kept better records at the beginning of my gardening!

      Anyway. None of these photos are from those plants. I rarely see insects on them.

      Most of the photos in this post are of R. hirta, though that patch of flowers is mingling with what I think are the “gloriosa daisy” variety of R. hirta (that name is an assumption; they’re the ones with petals that are darker near the centers), and it was hard to tell which was which when they were all blooming.

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