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Over the course of time, humans have lost the ability to connect with nature has slowly diminished. What was once a powerful and predominant reflexive instinct has now become consumed by iClouds, iMessages, iTunes; all the while taking us further from the actual ‘I’.
Despite modern-day distractions, when we do stop and smell the roses, we’ll find that we subconsciously lead our lives in mimic of Nature.
Lining the paths of Grootbos, colourful Gazania Pectinata (Daisies) paint a picture of perfection. Their transcendent shades of yellow and orange create feelings of warmth and happiness with a single white spot on each petal. These distinctive patterns and colours mimic one of their key pollinators – the monkey beetle.
Monkey beetles are many shades of orange and yellow with stiff black hairs all over. Their head and thorax are black throughout with distinct yellow stripes running vertically down their bodies. The female monkey beetle is less bright in colour to the male. Their diet consists of a variety of plants but prefers to favour to daisies.
A male beetle flying past is easily distracted by what is portrayed as a large social gathering of mates. Without hesitation, he dives straight into action. The investigation of the flower begins as he simultaneously feeds on the pollen. Through this, his body becomes full of pollen as the hunt for a suitable mate unfolds. He’ll continue this procedure repeatedly until he finds a suitable mate. Once found, he will ‘mate-guard’ the female for an extended period of time – protecting their territory to ensure no other males will mate with the female. Several males will fight over one female, all the while becoming covered in pollen. Oblivious to the beetle, their daily routine unwittingly contributes to one of the most paramount factors in the floral kingdom, the pollination process.
Whilst amusing to watch, male beetles can be witnessed in the battle over a female who inconspicuously fly off leaving the males to continue the battle without noticing the disappearance of their prize!
Both the flower and the beetles have proven a photographer’s dream and can be admired in full bloom from August until November.