Dianthus Medical Blog Archive

Dubai Miracle Garden and the strange lack of insects

I'm currently in Dubai to deliver some training in clinical study design to a group of medical advisers from a pharmaceutical company. I'd heard that Dubai is a fascinating place and I've never been here before, so I arranged my schedule to give myself a little time to have a look around.

Since I'm rather fond of plants (as you might have guessed from the name of the company), I spent my free afternoon visiting the Dubai Miracle Garden. This consists of a truly stunning collection of living flower arrangements, and was well worth a visit. Here are a couple of photos.





The displays were really beautiful, and it was certainly a lovely place to spend a couple of hours.

But I noticed something really odd about it: there were almost no insects. Any collection of that many flowers in Europe would be alive with bees and butterflies. But here, I didn't see a single one. I spotted a couple of insects on one of the flower beds (not sure what kind: they looked a bit like hoverflies, but I don't think that's what they were), and I saw a lone ant on one of the pavements, but that was it for insect life. Not a single bee or butterfly anywhere to be seen.

This bothered me. My first thought was that since we are effectively in the middle of a desert, there are simply no local insect populations adapted to feeding off flowers. However, I sat with someone at dinner this evening who lives in Dubai, and she told me she's often seen butterflies in a park near where she lives.

So where were all the insects? I would really love it if someone can solve this mystery for me.

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