#PicturePerfectPollinator Photo Contest Winners

Thanks for all the entries into our Pollinator Week photo contest! You can review all the entries here!

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Winner “Most Interesting” Category

Great golden digger wasp, by Jill Gorman. The great golden digger wasp is one of the largest found in North America. It’s distinct golden hair and large size make it a rare surprise to find in the garden! Read more about it here.


Winner “Prettiest Pollinator” Category

Diana fritillary by @finnfury / twitter. Blue is one of the rarest colors found in nature, and blue butterflies are definitely noticeable in the landscape, especially when they contrast against yellows and greens. The Diana fritillary is a butterfly with a relatively small distribution, found in woodland areas primarily in the Arkansas River Valley, areas of South Carolina, and spots along the Appalachian mountain range. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism, meaning males and females exhibit noticeably different coloration. Males are burnt orange and brown, whereas females are a colorful blue!


Winner “Best of Show” Category

Bee in daylily by Brenda Rezk. While many exceptional macro shots were submitted, we were taken by the color and composition of this shot of a bee taking a cozy rest inside of a daylily flower. (Note: Brenda identifies this bee as a long-horned bee (Melissodes spp.), but it is likely a sweat bee or mining bee.


Honorable Mentions

With nearly 2,000 entries it was tough to choose. Here are some other favorite submissions we wanted to share:

@SageHandler submitted a series of photos on twitter, but we were smitten with this photo of a bumble bee – so much pollen!


@LauraZ on Instagram captured this moody photo of a gray hairstreak on a watermelon flower.


@wdapus on instagram explains of this photo: “Habrophorula is an extremely elusive solitary bee. Thought to be the only endemic bee genus in China, they are found in subtropical evergreen forest. I was lucky to find a breeding site for these rare species, it seems they establish loosely associated colony and competition is intense about the nesting holes. This female is either trying to take her own nesting hole back, or trying to rob her hard working neighbor.”


Meg Brock captured this Bombus impatiens on approach to lamb’s ear flowers. The soft silver foliage makes for a nice backdrop in this cheery photo.


Insects often use mimicry as a defense, which can make identification tricky. Ashley Salas explains of this photo of a yello-faced bee: “Bees and wasps are cousins, so they look very similar. Wasps generally have a waist that is more tapered than bees’ waist. Flies use mimicry to look like wasps and bees, and that helps protect the fly from other species that may be hesitant to be near bees and wasps. Flies generally have short antenna. Flies have two wings that may not be able to fold over their abdomen, so the wings stick out from their bodies (in contrast, bees and wasps have four wings that fold over their abdomen). The more you look, the easier it will become to differentiate. Enjoy the pollinators around you!”


Danae Wolfe is a talented macro photographer. Check out her work on facebook, including her “Early Risers” series of insects you may miss if you’re not particularly a morning person.


Rachael Bonoan, Ph.D. submitted several beautiful and engaging photos throughout the week. Saying of this subject: “My new study species: the Puget blue butterfly. When it’s a caterpillar, the Puget blue butterfly is tended by ants. In return, the ants receive a sugary snack.”


@Knatureimages on twitter captured this white-lined sphinx moth having a sip from a zinnia – what a proboscis!


A big thank you to everyone who participated. Sharing these wonderful photographs is a great way to capture the imagination and show off the beauty and diversity of pollinators that may otherwise be overlooked.