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Stinking Benjamin – A Fly-eating Spider’s Best Friend

5-16-18 fly, spider and red trillium_U1A2889

Red Trillium (Trillium erectum) has many common names, among them Stinking Benjamin, due to its unappealing smell. It has no nectar to attract insects, so it uses its scent and the color of its petals (which resembles rotting meat) to lure pollinating insects, the majority of which are carrion flies and beetles.

Apparently this strategy has not gone unnoticed by certain insect-eating predators, such as spiders. As you can see in this photograph, a spider has snared and is eating (drinking) a fly in the web it spun on top of the trillium’s pollen-laden stamens.

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6 responses

  1. Guy Stoye

    As always, things in nature often not noticed, shown here with the spider successfully carrying on her operation on this plant.

    May 16, 2018 at 9:27 am

  2. Kathryn

    Hmmm… the color of rotting meat… Gee, never thought of that before but sure will now!

    May 16, 2018 at 10:07 am

  3. Marilyn

    That’s something I hadn’t noticed. The red trilliums are beautiful just now!

    May 16, 2018 at 10:58 am

  4. Alice Pratt

    Nature continously amazes…..

    May 16, 2018 at 3:41 pm

  5. Laura D. Page

    Does this mean spiders can be pollinators?


    May 19, 2018 at 5:07 pm

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