The Birds And the Bees and the Pollinator Syndrome [Science Ink Sunday]

Tattoo by Dave Kotinsley, Gainesville, FL
Tattoo by Dave Kotinsley, Gainesville, FL

Jacob Landis writes, “I’m a graduate student at the University of Florida studying flower evolutionary development with a focus on plant/pollinator interactions. My ink represents the concept that I have been working on for almost 6 years now. This piece shows three species in the Phlox family. The red and white flowers are both part of the genus Ipomopsis and the blue/purple flower is in the closely related Polemonium. The pollinator of each flower is shown interacting with the flower. These interactions represent the concept of pollinator syndromes: certain features of the flower will attract certain pollinators. The long red tubular flowers attract hummingbirds, the white tubular flowers attract hawk moths, and the more open blue/purple flowers often attract bees.”

You can see the rest of the Science Tattoo Emporium here or in my book, Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed(The paperback edition comes out in May; you can pre-order here.)

3 thoughts on “The Birds And the Bees and the Pollinator Syndrome [Science Ink Sunday]

  1. Unfortunately there are some scientific problems with this tattoo:

    Ipomopsis aggregata is shown with 6 petals; actually it has 5
    The hawkmoths has no proboscis
    The leaves are neither those of Ipomopsis nor or Polemonium

    And most important:
    Over 200 person-months of research at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado, over 40 summers, show that this picture of the pollination of this group misses much intriguing detail (for example, bumble bees sometimes pollinate the red-flowered Ipomopsis aggregata and when they do they are 4 times as good per visit as hummingbirds in pollinating). These details are published in the scientific literature.

  2. I can’t get to the emporium! The links send me in an infinite loop. Is there somewhere that all the photos are available to look at?

    [CZ: All my tattoo posts are filed here.]

  3. All the tattoo posts seem to be old — is this the last one, over a year and a half ago? 🙁 I was watching the emporium before I got my tattoo, and then I never did get around to sending mine in. I would still love to share it here, but is here dead now? My tat is of the Mandelbrot Set. Srsly, yeah. My education is in math (see my email address, I am often “Mathochist” online), and the Mandelbrot set is one of the most beautiful and fascinating things I know. It took me years to convince myself that I even COULD get this tattoo, in a world without a robot tattoo arm and an infinite amount of time — that it really was okay to just make it as recognizable as possible and accept that it will never have the resolution, on skin, to be able to zoom in and show all its true beauty. The tattoo is not the set, but the tattoo represents that beauty, and is shown with all the rainbow colors around the set that have come to be recognized as going with it, so it is very recognizable, and as accurate as we could make it. And it is very much ME. Here it is — you can just look at the finished, final photo, or see how it appeared at each stage of the work as it was being done:

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