Category: usgs

Well, someone has to take pictures of all thes…

Well, someone has to take pictures of all these small metallic Lasioglossums.   

This is L. flaveriae.  A Deep South species.  I associate it with southern, piney flatlands,  but it is based on partial understandings.  

Bees are so tiny and we look under Mother Nature’s hood in so few places.  This makes every collecting trip a grand adventure and it means its is often difficult to divine what bees might be in trouble and what …might not.  Once again, the fabulous Kamren Jefferson took this picture in 2013.      

Another mid-summer Colletes from the central p…

Another mid-summer Colletes from the central prairies.  

Note the “cute” face with the inner edges of the eyes converging towards the mouth.  

For some reason this automatically makes a bee cute compared to the standard bee face format that most species display.  I am note sure of the preferences of this species but many Colletes use pollen from only a small number of plants.  Biodiversity …check.  Pictures by Anders Croft.

Colletes kinkaidii

Small Fuzzy Diadaasia diminuta.  

Small Fuzzy Diadaasia diminuta.  

This little fur ball, is a globe mallow specialist.  

I would tell you more but I am too tired after trying to beat back invasives all day in the yard to say any more.   A lovely day though all the bees finally are emerging, including my first queen bumbles.  This little poof is from the Badlands National Park in South Dakota.  Pictures taken by Kelly Graninger and Anders Croft.    

Fuzzy, round-headed, and big are a pretty good…

Fuzzy, round-headed, and big are a pretty good short cut to the ID of Diadasia bees.   Westerners, they, in a very casual pocket prairie sort of way make East of the Mississippi River.   The bulk of the population  is in dry natural areas from the middle prairies to the West.  Here is a common one from our work in the Badlands of South Dakota.  At times, you can find them nesting in aggregations in completely unvegetated open soils as we did these.  Slightly cuddly, I think.    

Diadasia australis

Another one of those metallic Lasioglossums in…

Another one of those metallic Lasioglossums in the Dialictus group….

so similar until you look at them under the microscope …

where they continue to look so similar.  

It is a world of nuance to us, but somehow many Lasioglossum species evolve, do different things, partition the sexual universe and become species.  I am so grateful to get to know this tiny part of the universe .. .a place veiled to me for most of my life and now I have been given a small look at what seems to be infinite complexity.   This bee is from coastal St. John’s County in Florida.  Photo by Kamren Jefferson.  

Oh, yes, this is L. tamiamense.

In the  spring, this species (Andrena cressoni…

In the  spring, this species (Andrena cressonii) can show up almost anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic and throughout much of the country.  

Common, but rarely abundant.  

The vibe on this male is:  wide head, yellow on the clypeus and yellow in the parocular area (this is area between the central clypeus and compound eyes). 

See if you can drop the term “parocular” in a conversation later today, to lock this term in.  You could mention, for example,  to your favorite person “you are looking at little yellow in your paroculars”… gentling increasing your interpersonal bonding.  Learning about bees has wider positives than most people realize. Photo by Brooke Alexander.  

A series of pictures from Silas Bossert from t…

A series of pictures from Silas Bossert from the National Collection at the Smithsonian.  They use their own hi res camera equipment, but prefer a light background. Check the tongue on this bad girl, there is a story here of intense specialization by plant and bee.  This tiny bee lives in the deserts of the SW U.S.  It feeds its young pollen from Proboscidea …(Unicorn Plants).  But!….The plant does not open its flower when the pollen is ready…the bee has to cut a hole in the base of the flower and then mines that pollen…then…it goes for a drink at the flowers that are open and, boom, bee gets total access to pollen and plant gets very efficiently pollinated.  Great system, but require both bee and plant to remain present.

One of about 3 Monarda specialist in Eastern N…

One of about 3 Monarda specialist in Eastern North America.  

This uncommon bee was collected in Wisconsin (Dufourea monardae), likely by Denny Johnson and photographed by Amber Reese.  

A northern species and not one we have had any experience collecting or observing.  That said, it could occur in Maryland if people spend more time collecting off of Bee Balm.

Bedraggled Bee.  

Bedraggled Bee.  

We picture here Colletes willistoni, with mussy hair, something Colletes are prone to.  For me this is mostly irritating, in that they don’t clean up well for their pictures, for the bees, well, its hard to say, they are an old lineage and apparently great looking hair under all conditions was not their evolutionary priority.  A tricky to id clade in Colletes, in the Midwest.  Found along the road, in one of my favorite parts of the world.  The Nebraska Sandhills.

The Good Carpenter Bee.  

The Good Carpenter Bee.  

This is the other species of carpenter bee that occurs in the Eastern U.S.  Xylocopa micans.  For some reason it thumbs its labrum at dry wood in buildings, decks, and fences (unlike its cousin X. virginica).  

Because it retires to natural habitats its nesting preferences are little known and yet another place where contributions by sharp-eyed naturalistas can be made.This male was photographed by Anders Croft.  Bee collected by Mimi Jenkins in Watermelon fields of South Carolina