Biology Challenge

There are a lot of cool things happening outside, right now as we transition from late summer into fall. This challenge is an attempt to get a discussion started. Notice the ant in the lower part of this close-up photo I took this morning at the Prairie Center in west Olathe. Ant on EFN

Here’s the challenge:
1. Can you name the plant? (I know it’s tough without the flowers but not impossible.)
2. Can you name the structure that seems to be the center of the ant’s attention?



5 thoughts on “Biology Challenge”

  1. Professor Williamson,
    Are you suggesting that there is some sort of coevolutionary relationship between the ant and the plant? Hmm, ENF indeed.

  2. Brad – I love the photo!
    I wish I had my camera earlier today when I was vacuming my car. There was a HUGE praying mantis sitting on the metal thing where you hang the hose. It looked aggressive and perturbed at me for disturbing his dinner time. I also saw a leaf hopper shortly thereafter hanging out by the gas tanks at QT. They are lucky I didn’t have a jar on me or they would have wound up in my classroom for a while. Great examples of science in the city!

  3. Scott,

    Why don’t you re-size one of your images from this morning and post a picture of Partridge Pea here in this post (you can edit this post under Manage) to see if others agree.

    BTW, the flower of this plant has no nectar and is “buzz-pollinated.”


  4. I didn’t really know what this was until I looked more closely at some photographs that I took this morning. If I’m right, this is Showy Partridge Pea and it is in bloom right now all over Lawrence. What a stunningly beautiful flower! I didn’t know what the ant was after, but my Tallgrass Prairie Wildflowers book noted a “small, saucer-shaped gland near the middle of each leaf stalk”. Hopefully a BioBlog reader can teach me the function of the gland via a post.

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