The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract many kinds of insects, including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, and butterflies. The short-tongued bee, Andrena fragilis, is an oligolectic visitor (specialist pollinator) of Cornus spp. (Dogwood shrubs). Other insects feed on the leaves, suck plant juices, or bore through the wood. These species include the caterpillars of many moths (see Moth Table), long-horned beetles (Cerambycidae), leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae), aphids (Aphididae), plant bugs (Miridae), and others (see Insect Table). Because of their higher than average fat content, the white drupes of Red-Osier Dogwood are an important food source of wood ducks, songbirds, and upland gamebirds (see Bird Table). The White-Footed Mouse and other small rodents also eat the drupes. The White-Tailed Deer and Cottontail Rabbit browse on the leaves and woody stems; beavers also use the stems as a food source and as construction material for their dams and lodges. To a minor extent, the fallen leaves are eaten by some turtles, including Chelydra serpentina (Snapping Turtle) and Trachemys scripta (Slider).
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