New Mexico Thistle
Photographed along Mesquite Wash, Maricopa Co., Arizona. May 17, 2008.
The butterfly's larva feeds on the leaves, but the adult visits the flowers and could serve as long distance pollinators as they migrate.
Orange Blister Beetle
These beetles feed on pollen and nectar, but do not move much from plant to plant and would, therefore, not be very good pollinators. In addition these beetles lay their eggs in flowers and the larvae of the beetles can latch onto bees and parasitize the bee's nest.
This is a male bee and probably has minimal potential to be a pollinator. It is awaiting the visit of a female bee.
PERENNIAL : Robust herbaceous plant regrowing for two or more years from
tap root. Plants two meters tall are not
uncommon. Usually just one main stem with several inflorescences branching from
Silky bristles from the mature flower heads are taken by female Anna's Hummingbirds for lining their nests. The flower heads are a favorite for many nectar-feeding beetles and butterflies. Some examples at lower left are thumb-linked. Leaves may be found sewn together into tent-like structures with a caterpillar inside. These belong to the Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).
Hiding under a silken tent upon a thistle leaf is a larva (caterpillar) belonging to the Painted Lady butterfly. Near Humbolt Mountain in n. Maricopa Co., Arizona. April 2013.
Asteraceae -- Sunflower Family
Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page
Michael J. Plagens, page created 20 Aug. 2008,
updated 21 May 2016.