A Path Lined with Spanish Needle

RSSP Love Bugs
Did you ever wonder where all the love bugs went at night? The Spanish needle was covered with them.

Spanish needle (Bidens alba) flourishes in subtropical climates. One of our native wildflowers, many people consider it a weed. I once let a garden go and Spanish Needle took over. I tried to pass it off as a planned wildflower garden, but no one believed it. Biden means two-toothed, and describe the way this plant disperses its seeds. We call them hitchhikers because the small brown balls of needles stick to your clothes, you, and your fingers as you try to remove them. In spite of our feelings about these flowers, they are pretty and an abundant source of nectar in the area for many of our state’s pollinators.

On a recent camping trip part of the roadside contained a large field of Spanish Needle. At first I bypassed it, looking for other things to photograph. The second day I really looked as I passed and saw all kinds of activity. For the next few days, every morning I made a point of slowly walking along this area as the sun rose to illuminate it, checking for the best lighting and activity among the flowers and leaves. Here are the top results from that trip.

RSSP Frog
The last morning the frogs were everywhere in the patch. We saw some older ones and we think these are juvenile Green Tree Frogs.
RSSP Skipper
Skipper
RSSP wasp
Striped Sweat Bee
RSSP bee
Honeybee

UPDATE: Why in the world am I suddenly so interested in insects? My portfolio always included butterflies and a certain number of dragonflies, and maybe a bee as it hovered near a button bush. The reason: I am taking an on-line entomology course. As a naturalist and certified interpretive guide, I require a certain amount of continuing education each year to keep my certifications. Once I started the course, I started noticing the small creatures more and realized I opened an entirely new area of nature photography for myself.

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