We’ll have a special truncated edition of Readers’ Wildlife today as there will shortly be a Spot the Chimpunk picture. But we have four lovely pictures of bees from reader Mark Sturtevant; this is the first of two batches.
I now have a hefty number of what I hope are interesting pictures of insects and other arthropods. This latest installment has a theme, which is bees.
There are several different families of bees. Most bees are quite hairy, and their hairs are of course used to gather and carry pollen. Another character of most bees is that the hind leg has an enlarged 1st tarsal (foot) segment. This is especially true of some of the social bees like this honeybee (Apis mellifera). Here, what looks like a whole leg segment at the end of the hind leg is really the 1st segment of the foot. I bring these points up for a reason, as we will learn soon. All of the following bees belong to solitary species. Most bees are solitary, and solitary bees are critical plant pollinators that deserve a lot more appreciation.
I am not great at identifying all kinds of bees, but I think this one is a male long-horned bee (Svastra obliqua?), given its wonderfully long antennae. This is one of my favorite pictures that I have taken this summer.
This bee is similar to the previous, and is either a female long-horn bee (they have shorter antennae) or it is a digger bee (perhaps genus Habropoda). It looks like it got stuck in a bag of Cheetos.
We had swarms of tiny halictid bees in our garden. There are several genera of these green ‘sweat bees’, and so I do not know the species that we have around here. I had a lot of fun taking pictures of these little beauties in the yard, but they were also challenging due to their small size and also for their speed since they would usually zip from flower to flower.
Finally, and just for fun, we have some urban wildlife, from a tw**t by “x” via Matthew Cobb:
I wonder if it had a cheesesteak before it found a smoke. (I also suspect someone put the smoke into its claw, since the cigarette is lit.)