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Friday photo 4

I was at the Santa Barbara Orchid Fair last weekend. (It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.) One of the huge growers there, SB Orchid Estates does an open house at the same time. This striking species caught my eye:

And this one:

The Central and South American Stanhopea and Catasetum orchids produce what amounts to perfume used by male euglossine bees to communicate with female euglossine bees. Everybody wins. The orchids get highly specific pollinators who find them from, literally, miles away. And they get that at very little cost in terms of the energy it takes to produce a few pheromones. The male bees don’t have to make their own. And the females get attractive males.

The euglossines are on the spectacular side themselves:

brilliant metallic turquoise euglossine bee

Euglossa viridis, photo: Benjamin Bembe

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