Nests in holes.
Hangs out on mid summer composites.
Has orange pollen carrying hairs.
Has boss knobs on the upper side of the mandibles (why?).
This specimen found on Dave Wagner’s transmission line study in New England by Michael Veit.
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…
Female Macropis ciliata from NH.
Collected by Michael Veit on transmission lines…part of a David Wagner study of bees and transmission.
This bee is special. Not as common as it once was and a specialist on Lysimachia (Loosestrife) natives. These plants produce oils that the Macropis add to their pollen balls for their babies. No Lysimachia…no Macropis.
Or more accurately transmission corridors.
Now one of the few places that open country forb communities exist in many parts of the East. Often seen as a blight, they if not mown or sprayed to death, are places of refuge for many rare bees. Over the next few days you will see several rarities from a study that David Wagner created with specimens, like this one collected by the bee whisperer of New England Michael Veit. Oh, this is Triepeolus obliteratus….rare, but with the nice character of having only 2 rather than 3 submarginals…(thus the “obliteratus” part of the name)
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.
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.
Carolina Wren – Thryothorus ludovicianus.
A common co-inhabitant with human nests. In this case a Wren made a nest in a tub of rags we had outside under a shed roof. We watched it for a while, but then found the tub also had a Black Rat Snake and the nest was mysteriously abandoned. We took a picture of the left over egg….lovely in its speckles laid down in the birds oviduct. Kelly Graninger took the shot.
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.
One of the most common bees in Eastern North America, particularly in urban and disturbed environments.
They are attracted to piles of dirt or open scraped soils and appear to be a huge fan of clovers, plants that also favor lawns and open disturbed sites. The female (look it up) mirrors most other small, dark bees in that group, with a few white marks on its lower face.
The male Calliopsis andreniformis pictured here is spectacularly different. Brilliant yellow to an exhibitionistic level. This one comes from Baltimore City.
A male and one of my favorite shots (as you can tell from my icon).
For me there are lovely elements of symmetry in the yellow facial markings (maculations in our nerdy parlance) along with the almost completely round head with lovely catchlights in the eyes to pop the shape into 3 dimensions and then the lariat of mirror images of antennae. The whole picture in a notion of motion and off-center enough keeping things from getting toooo symmetrical. Fun, plus I should mention that this “species” is almost certainly 2 separate species…told only apart by their genitalia and undocumented in the literature.