Category: entomology

Hey now here is a common bee from Kruger Natio…

Hey now here is a common bee from Kruger National Park, Meliturgula scriptifrons.  

A smallish brown bee that are commonly caught in bowl traps.  Part of the small number of genera in Andrenidae.  

Photo by Kelly Graninger.

Here is a short 3 picture series of 3 Mylabris…

Here is a short 3 picture series of 3 Mylabris blister beetles from Kruger National Park, where they are often found on tree flowers.  

I had the unfortunate experience of storing a bunch of these in my pocket while in the bush.  Later that night my upper thigh was covered in large blisters.  Be warned.  Cool antennae, why so divided, some of you need to figure this out.  

Pictures by Erick Hernandez and Anders Croft.

One of the graciously metallic species of the …

One of the graciously metallic species of the subgenus Paracmaeodera found on flowers and bowl traps in Kruger National Park, South Africa.  Photo by Anders Croft.

Colletes solidaginis.

Colletes solidaginis.

Not a great specimen, but then again, the species is one we have seen only a few times… you get what you can take.  As the name implies there MIGHT be a relationship between this species and golden rod.  Is that true?   Someone needs to look at little more deeply and perhaps look at the pollen on the bodies of these bees to make such declarations.  

Sytyropha on white background.  

Sytyropha on white background.  

S. krigei to be specific from Kruger National Park in South Africa.  

This specimen was identified and photographed by Silas Bossert a bee researcher at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.  They use similar systems to what we use, but prefer gray to white backgrounds, they are equally detailed.  Silas is identifying a number of the specimens we captured a few years ago in Kruger and we are very much appreciative of his expertise.  This species specializes on morning glories and carries pollen throughout its body rather than simply on the legs.  It is also a sweat bee…interesting world.  

Aptly named:  Lasioglossum coeruleum.  

Aptly named:  Lasioglossum coeruleum.  

Most of the many confusing members of these small sweat bees glimmer discretely in metallic integument, but our friend here takes it up a notch to and Osmia level.  

This makes them identifiable…except for the problem that some of them are not so bright…irritating if you have to identify them…but once you get the pattern you feel a small sense of superiority to those in power in the world who clearly would fail if you asked them to identify an “off” L. coeruleum specimen. So there.  Specimen collected by Michael Veit in transmission lines in CT…

Bombus affinis, 2018, Tucker County, West Virg…

Bombus affinis, 2018, Tucker County, West Virginia. 

An Endangered Species. 

This male was found by Justin DeVault from  AllStar Ecology, who with other folks at AllStar, on their own time and dollar, have been surveying bumble bees in the state.  Good people, good model, too rarely done, why aren’t you doing this?   I digress.  After a couple of decades, this is the second specimen for the state.  In somewhat nearby Mineral County, one was found in 2017 and about 100 miles away a few more have been found in the mountains of Virginia.  The general pattern (other than one in the Shenandoah Valley in 2014 (or 2015)) has been high elevations, openings in heavily wooded general landscapes.  There are more to be found…but people have to look. Check out the sporty reddish brown band on the abdomen …this is an aberration of the type that shows up in B. impatiens regularly and at least once before in B. affinis.

Another bee from Kruger National Park in South…

Another bee from Kruger National Park in South Africa.  

This is Xylocopa caffra…the male.  Note how it is all yellow?  Well the female is almost all black with some blocks of yellow on the abdomen.  In a number of Carpenter bees on a number of continents this pattern repeats…while in other Carpenter bees the male and female are both dark.  Check the nice sheen to the wings.  Photograph by Kelly Graninger.

This is an odd Genus of bee from Kruger Nation…

This is an odd Genus of bee from Kruger National Park where I traveled with Jonathan Mawdsley to South Africa to collect bees in the park.  

While a poor shot in terms of the antennae…if you look closely one of the antennae is broadened like the bowl of a spoon (thus the genus name Spatunomia) while the other is simply broken off.  Why does this male have this adornment?  Good question.  Photo by Anders Croft.  

Pseudopanurgus rugosus, collected by the glori…

Pseudopanurgus rugosus, collected by the glorious State of Virginia Natural Heritage group.  

This whole group is a bit of a nightmare.   

Uncommon, tiny, often very similar looking and widely ignored by taxonomists.  I often have to leave them as sp….or as we say ‘spuh’.  Which is not something that should be happening in this modern sophisticated, send-a-man-to-the-moon, sort of society.  But it is.  P. rugosus...not so difficult.  Has ‘rugged’ topography on its back…thus its name.