Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cooperating at the Co-op

The sunflowers are what catch your eye when approaching the co-op, but the real show is what you get from a close-up look. I spent a half hour this morning watching various kinds of bees and possibly some bee mimics - called hover flies - getting their food and benefiting the sunflowers. The cooperative relationship between flowering plants and pollinators is often one of protocooperation, in technical terms. Sometimes the relationship evolves to one of total interdependence. The latter is often the case with certain wasps and orchids or columbines and perfectly matched butterflies or hummingbirds. As I watched closely this morning I was impressed not only by the details of bee anatomy but also of sunflower anatomy. As Thoreau said, we should sometimes take an insect view of the world.

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