City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

September 20, 2016

August 8th


4 p.m. Principal insect pollinators in the canyon are butterflies and bees. Near the red bridge between picnic sites 6 and 7, two common roadside flowering weeds are next to the road: a purple tansyaster (probably Dieteria canescens, the hoary tansyaster)and a bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare). The aster is covered in a flock of 12 small cabbage white butterflies. Both the cabbage butterflies and the plants are invasive species. The other major butterfly pollinators of the canyon are the black and white Admiral butterfly and earlier in the season, the yellow tiger swallowtail. The thistle is covered with a red rumped bumble bees, probably the central bumble bee (Bombus centralis) The bumble bees do not have the usual yellow and black striped abdomen of the more familiar honey bee. These bumble bee abdomens are white and reddish-orange banded. Dragonflies also rest on the thistle and act as pollinators. Rarely, wasps can also be seen pollinating flowers. In past years, I have seen the large ground burrowing bumble bee emerging from their nests in the side of the road. This year there are none. I am not a trained botanist or biologist; these are the best amateur identification that I can make.


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