The Blue Winged Beetle and Passionflora

The Passiflora is the name given to the flower of a passion fruit climber. It has unique umbrella shaped stigma and pollen capsules. The nectar is contained in a vessel like trough as can be seen from the pictures. Due to this vessel shape its almost impossible for any birds to collect nectar, and even humming bird seems to avoid it.

The major nectar feeders of passiflora are blue-winged beetles, sting less wasps, honey bees, and ants. But since the passiflora has a higher clearance of pollen/stigma umbrella from the petal surface, none of the others save the blue-winged beetles carry the pollination of passiflora. The unique adaptation of the flower and the beetle share an uncommon story of relation between them.

The shots I have taken is a week’s routine observation, noting the unique behavioral pattern of the blue-winged beetles, and observing the very close relation between them.

The blue-winged beetles is noted to have very strict timetable in collecting nectar; over the period of one week of observation, the beetles visited regularly at exact same timings (with a relaxation of +/- 15min only), twice during day.
The blue-winged beetles is noted to have very strict timetable in collecting nectar; over the period of one week of observation, the beetles visited regularly at exact same timings (with a relaxation of +/- 15min only), twice during day.

 

 

approach2

 

 First visit is during the noon time and second visit during the evening. It is also quite interesting that these beetles are having rather organized and social way of gathering the nectar. The group numbers had varied in this period from 4- 7 at a time.
First visit is during the noon time and second visit during the evening. It is also quite interesting that these beetles are having rather organized and social way of gathering the nectar. The group numbers had varied in this period from 4- 7 at a time.
This group of blue-winged beetles divide their nectar collecting area into zones and collect in an organized manner
This group of blue-winged beetles divide their nectar collecting area into zones and collect in an organized manner

 

 Although they are quite energetic and roam around cutting their own zones, they tend to come back always to their zone for collecting nectar. This is quite a unique behavior.
Although they are quite energetic and roam around cutting their own zones, they tend to come back always to their zone for collecting nectar. This is quite a unique behavior.

 

The Blue-winged beetles have soft padded hairy patch just behind the head. As it collects the nectar by crouching around the rim of the passiflora. It carries and facilitates pollination.
The Blue-winged beetles have soft padded hairy patch just behind the head. As it collects the nectar by crouching around the rim of the passiflora. It carries and facilitates pollination.

 

Quite interestingly, passiflora is 95% pollinated by these beetles and they share a unique, and touching symbiotic relation with each other.
Quite interestingly, passiflora is 95% pollinated by these beetles and they share a unique, and touching symbiotic relation with each other.

 

 

Good bye dear.. see you soon. :-)
Good bye dear.. see you soon. 🙂

 

 

The blue-winged beetles is noted to have very strict timetable in collecting nectar; over the period of one week of observation, the beetles visited regularly at exact same timings (with a relaxation of +/- 15min only), twice during day. First visit is during the noon time and second visit during the evening. It is also quite interesting that these beetles are having rather organized and social way of gathering the nectar. The group numbers had varied in this period from 4- 7 at a time.

This group of blue-winged beetles divide their nectar collecting area into zones and collect in an organized manner. Although they are quite energetic and roam around cutting their own zones, they tend to come back always to their zone for collecting nectar. This is quite a unique behavior.

The Blue-winged beetles have soft padded hairy patch just behind the head. As it collects the nectar by crouching around the rim of the passiflora. It carries and facilitates pollination.

Quite interestingly, passiflora is 95% pollinated by these beetles and they share a unique, and touching symbiotic relation with each other.

Posted from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *