Category: Entomologist

I hunt Colletes nests.  This is the Epeolus motto (This would also make a good prison tattoo, who would mess with you with that on your neck?).  Here is Epeolus americanus, which Colletes it favors to hunt is not clear (this is true for most Epeolus, so get on this people!).  Relativley easy to tell because it only 2 submarginals.  Specimen from Ellison Orcutt from the mountains of Virginia and photo by Erick Hernandez.

One of the most common long-horned bees in the Mid-Atlantic.  Often confused with M. agilis and it is not at all clear how to tell the males apart.  Oh, this is Melissodes trinodis.   A lover of composites. Supporting composites supports M. trinodis for the holidays.   Photo by Erick Hernandez.      

Cockroaches beware!.  Here is an Evaniid wasp, Ensign Wasp (the abdomen is a flag…get it?), possibly Hyptia harpyoides.  This group parasitizes cockroaches at least our native cockroaches.  Not sure if they find our indoor cockroaches acceptable.  

One the books is a species called Augochloropsis metallica…it has 2 named subspecies A. m. fulgida and A. m. metallica.  Turns out that preliminary molecule checking indicates that, yes, they are separate species.  Morphology backs that up too.  This lovely is from WV collected by Mark Hepner.

Carrying on from the recent posts of Lithurgus chrysurus, here is another European bee that specializes on Knapweed.  

This specimen from the West Coast, but it occurs throughout North America.  Photo by Anders Croft.    This bee was collected in the California Central Valley him in Yolo County for research on small-scale restoration in agricultural areas. Claire Kremen’s 10-year study of hedgerows shows the benefits of planting native shrubs and forbs in agricultural areas for native bees. To learn more about the Kremen Lab and hedgerows, see <a href=“https://nature.berkeley.edu/kremenlab/” rel=“noreferrer nofollow”>nature.berkeley.edu/kremenlab/</a>

From one of the coastal National Parks in St. John’s County in Florida comes a lovely red-legged Lasioglossum tarponense.  

I think of this species as a sand specialist…living in the Florida scrubby sand coastal pine matrix that forms an important part of the natural matrix of the region behind the sand dunes.   Not many records in the national databases, but this species can occur by the 100s in some areas even though it barely escapes Florida.    

I think you would want these as pets if they were just a bit bigger.

For whatever reason we haven’t taken any very good pictures of this here bee, Colletes thoracicus.  

This species is one of two that form huge aggregations in loose or sandy soils in the Eastern U.S.  Very cool and for some reason lacking any Bee Nest Parasites (Epeolus) that haunt other Colletes.  The males swarm over the aggregations creating fear in the American populace of and imminent sting attach of their  little darlings (they, of course, are unafraid).  No need for fear as simply lying down in the middle of colony will prove.  … it is even more impressive if you take your clothes off.  This male is from Shenandoah National Park, collected by Jessica Rykken and photoed by Greta Forbes.    

Pink Pollen Bee.  

Meet another lover of thistles.  

The large and late season Osmia texana.  The pink pollen is the pink pollen of thistles (I think one of the non-native ones so maybe other thistles don’t have pink pollen?).  This bee is part of an experiment run by Dawson Little at Blandy Experiment Station in Virginia (UVA) an undergraduate working with T’ai Roulston and Kate LeCroy.  You can’t see it well, but this bee is adorned with knobby armatures on the tip of the clypeus and often its massive mandibles, not clear why.  Odd to see all the pollen packed into the front legs…also unclear what is going on here.  The things you can do if you have six legs.    

Pterocheilus quinquefasciatus. – Hunter of caterpillars…in this case, hunter of caterpillars in South Dakota Badlands. 

This wasp has long stiff hairs on the palps of its tongue and it uses them like a basket…carrying dirt of its nest and away from the nest entrance so it is harder for parasitoids to track its babies locations.

We now are fortunate to  have a contribution from USDA’s great Weevil Hunter Lourdes Chamorro, she writes:

THE GUINEA PIG LOVER. 

This charismatic species of molytine (Snout) weevil is called Caviaphila nitida . It is the only species in the genus and known only from Argentina.  As the genus name suggests, this weevil makes a living in the lair of cavy rodents, specifically Cavia – guinea pigs but also the largest living rodent, the lesser capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris). This particular specimen housed in the U.S. National Museum, was collected by the great Trichoptera specialist Dr. Oliver Flint Jr. who passed away only recently but remained active in the field almost to the end.  He found this specimen while backlighting on water’s edge in Argentina in 1968.   We are all sorry to hear of Ollie’s passing.