The arid habitat of the Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve, USA, appears dry and lifeless for much of the year, but following the rainy season it bursts with the brilliant colors of the spring wildflower bloom. Many insects can be seen flying about pollinating flowers as they collect nectar and pollen. In this photo, a hover fly can be seen collecting pollen from a Phacelia (Hydrophyllaceae) flower. The fly has a short thick vacuum-like mouth, which it uses to suck up pollen from the flower anther. Although hover flies eat much of the pollen they collect, they also provide a valuable service to flowers by transferring pollen from one flower to another.
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