Readers’ wildlife photos

I request once again that readers send me their good wildlife photos. Reader Tony Eales from Australia sent some lovely bee photos; his notes are indented:

It’s been a while but the insect photography is going great. I’m particularly enamoured of native Australian bees, apparently, I’m told, there are something like 1600 species in Australia. Anyway here’s some of my faves.

These bees are members of the genus Megachile. The first bee is known as a resin bee and the second a leaf-cutter bee.

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Here’s a photo of roosting males of the genus Nomia subgenus Hoplonomia. I don’t know the species yet, but after putting up images of these bees on Facebook the curator of entomology at the Museum of Victoria asked me to collect two and mail them to him and he said he’ll get back with an ID. [JAC: Does anybody know why these bees tend to cluster like this?]

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These are members of my favourite group of bees, the Hylaeinae sub-family or Masked Bees. Unlike most bees, they lack the scopa: masses of branched hairs for collecting pollen.

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JAC: The next four pictures are from the Internet showing that the “scopa” can involve both hairs on the leg and elongated hairs on the ventral part of the abdomen; both, as you’ll see, are useful for collecting pollen.

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8 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen bugs cluster on the tip of a bare stem like that. They were being tended (?) by ants. Never figured it out.

  2. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Very good! The mass of male bees are probably gathered together because a female is expected to pass by.

  3. Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Beautiful! Thanks Tony and JAC.

  4. Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The green one is interesting. Not only is the colour unusual (to me at least), but it reminds me of a paint (for miniatures) I used to have – “metallic green”. I wonder if it is produced the same way …

    • jaxkayaker
      Posted November 25, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      A number of bee species have that metallic green coloration. I believe it’s the result of a structural property of the exoskeleton, rather than a pigment in the exoskeleton. This phenomenon is called a structural color but is sometimes called a schemochrome. Structural coloration is common in beetles, I seem to recall from my entomology course.

  5. Diane G.
    Posted November 27, 2016 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Very nice, Tony! Do let us know when you get to 1600 spp.😉


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