I stopped by Conard Environmental Research Area, a prairie/savannah reconstruction and restoration owned by Grinnell College. It is a pretty good area to find butterflies, but today was a little too overcast and windy for them. I still had a good time and took quite a few photographs.
I saw a honeybee that seemed to be acting funny on a goldenrod flower. Upon closer inspection I saw that it had been attacked by a goldenrod crab spider.
It seemed like a fairly recent event–I was not sure that the bee was dead yet. I took a number of photographs, hoping to get a good shot of the head and the eyes of the spider.
Sometimes when you look at your photos you will see things you did not while taking the pictures. That happened in this case. When I looked at the pictures I noticed the small fly on the spider.
It is very small–about the size of a fruit fly. I would guess that it is a phorid fly, but I am not sure on that yet.
So is it feeding on the juices of the corpse? Does it have some other intention–maybe to lay eggs on what remains of the bee, or to lay eggs on the spider? I don’t know, but it might be neat to find out.
Maybe someone will over at bugguide will know.
Speaking of bugguide, I had a post about things butterflies were attracted to and referred to a photograph of hackberry emperors on scat. MJ sent me the link to the photo.
If you look at it, you will have a completely different impression of butterflies. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
View at your own risk.