Potential submission to The Journal of Irreproducible Results

Niche partitioning among the pollinators of Trichostema lanatum on a summer day

George Williams

Department of
University of Sainted Barbarians,
Santa Barbara, Ca. 93106


Different insects pollinate Trichostema lanatum at different times of day.


Different insects pollinate Trichostema lanatum at different times of day.


On 26 June, 2012 I ran twice around a 19km loop, starting at roughly 300m and climbing to just shy of 1200m (with a total ascent of 1500m). I carried 2liters of water in a camelback and placed a 2liter jug of water at the start of the loop (to replenish the camelback for the second loop).

The study site (34°28.609N, 119°35.383W, Altitude ~1000m) was chosen because I heard a loud buzzing when I approached it, and, like Pooh, I know that “If there’s a buzzing-noise, somebody’s making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you’re a bee.” So each time I passed the spot I looked for pollinators.

Latitude/Longitude and altitude where continuously measured by a Garmin 405 GPS watch.

Photographs were taken with a Panasonic Lumix.


I first passed the study site at 9:49PDT. At that time 3 large black shiny wasp-like creatures were landing on and sampling the flowers of Trichostema lanatum (wooly blue-curls).

Shortly after this I observed one more large black shiny wasp-like creature (¿Xylocopa tabaniformis?) flying near (but not actually landing on) another blue-curl.

I next passed the site at 12:58PDT. At that point there was one large fuzzy hummingbird-like moth (¿Hemaris diffinis?) hovering around the blue-curls.

Large black wasp-like pollinator

Unfortunately the hummingbird-like moth had flown out of frame before the camera could focus.

The experiment was repeated on 3 July 2012, but the results were not reproducible. No pollinators were seen.


Different insects pollinate Trichostema lanatum at different times of day.




4 Responses to “Potential submission to The Journal of Irreproducible Results”

  1. Ralph Says:

    This is absolutely great, George. Don’t know that it proves anything, but that’s the best part.

  2. Adger Says:

    Too bad about the hummingbird. I think the referee’s report will insist on a picture of the hummingbird. Perhaps, you could draw it?

    • georgeruns Says:

      It’s not a hummingbird, it’s a hummingbird moth (hawkmoth). Perhaps Macroglossum stellatarum, but I didn’t get a good view.

      But this is the journal of irreproducible results, part of the joy is that the moth is not visible and can’t be reproduced.

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