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The Big Bloom

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Going to Great Lengths
Photograph by Jonathan Blair

Sipping nectar with a straw, this long-tongued fly in Namaqualand, South Africa, executes in-flight refueling with a proboscis that extends two inches (five centimeters) from its mouth. The length of the fly’s proboscis corresponds to one of its primary nectar sources—the tubular flowers of the Lapeirousia plant. The fly, in turn, serves as the Lapeirousia’s exclusive pollinator. This reciprocal relationship is the product of eons of coevolution between flowering plants and their insect pollinators.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: EOS-1
Film Type: E100-VS
Lens: 300 mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/320 @ f/5.6
Weather Conditions: Dry
Time of Day: 1 p.m.
Lighting Techniques: Sunshine
Special Comments: 2X Extender, tripod and insect experts

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