Biology Challenge

Here’s a cool but complex ecological interaction directly involving at least three species going on in my backyard. (Olathe, KS)

We’ve had a mostly cool and wet spring to date.  The plant involved is about 0.6 m tall at this point and there is a large flower bud within these leaves.  For this challenge, let’s start with the names of the species involved (at least to genus) followed by a description of the interactions involved.  Turns out there is a great site on the web that has this all documented with photos and scientific papers.  Maybe you can find that.  Part of the reason I put this challenge here is to hopefully inspire biology teachers into thinking just what they and their students might be able to investigate with just a small butterfly garden.  Another image:

btw, I’m putting this challenge up on the NABT BioBlog at the same time—I want to see who figures this out first–the KABTer’s or the NABTer’s……challenge on.



4 thoughts on “Biology Challenge”

  1. Nicely done but I think you’ll want to look over the ants a bit more—check out those gasters in the top ants in the top image…..that’s a hint.

  2. I was looking up the Genus but Harry beat me. I have seen the aphids on the milkweed but never the interaction between the ants and the aphids on milkweed. I read that the ants remove the aphids infected by a type of fungus so they can continue feeding on their honeydew.

  3. Wow….that was fast—-about as fast as Kim Foglia was on the NABT BioBlog….you both posted in less than 45 minutes after the posting.–actually Kim sent me an email wanting to know if she should post.

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