High Elevation Pollination
December 06, 2017
The photo above showing a drone fly (Eristalis tenax) pollinating a yarrow plant (Achillea millefolium) was taken at Cedar Breaks National Monument in southern Utah. Cedar Breaks is located above 10,000 ft (3,000 m) on the edge of the Colorado Plateau and is part of a physiographic region called the high plateau. This alpine ecosystem is known for its fabulous array of summer wildflowers, mainly occurring in open meadows such as the one where I took this photograph. When most people think of pollinators, they think of honeybees. However, a broad variety of insects are known to pollinate flowers. In fact, flies are one of the main pollinators in mountainous regions since honeybees don't exist at elevations above about 9,500 feet (about 2,900 m). Flies are therefore important pollinators for a majority of high elevation flowering plants including, lupine, Indian paintbrush, larkspur and yarrow. Photo taken August 2, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.
Photo Details: Camera Model: Canon EOS Rebel T6s; Exposure Time: 0.0006s (1/1600); Aperture ƒ/10.0; ISO equivalent: 400; Focal Length: 80.0mm; Lens: EF35-80mm f/4-5.6 III; Software: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6.10.1 (Macintosh).