Thursday, August 24, 2006

Teddy-bear Bee

Walking in the field a few days ago I was stopped by the sight of a small fuzzy something moving rather oddly across a leaf. A bee? A bee tangled in something? A strange bee!

I knew, after I saw the photos, that I had something I hadn't seen before--but where to start to find out what? I went to, joined up, and uploaded a couple of the photos (here).

Fantastic feet!

In almost no time I had an answer: male leaf-cutting bee of the genus Megachile, identified by Eric Eaton

I've never seen a cuter bee!

I continue to be amazed that insect identification is possible. I'm still trying to let go of my vertebrate preconceptions. There are a number of advantages to keeping your skeleton on the inside--you can get a lot bigger, for example. But it does restrict the evolutionary pathways a species can follow. Looking at the world as a vertebrate I have a hard time getting used to the idea that relatively closely related species can vary enormously in what are to vertebrates very basic characteristics. Just one example: the mouth parts on this little cutie, compare them to those of the bee on scat I found in July.

Friday Ark #101 Who's on Board?


Duncan said...

What a little beauty Pamela, cute is the word, great picture.

Cindy said...

Great shots, especially that last one. He looks like he's either smiling or saying something to you. It's fun to find something you've never seen before!

Anonymous said...

Those mouth parts don't make him seem all that cute to me.

Pamela Martin said...

Thanks Duncan, Cindy! It was a lucky find--and nice of the bee to pose the way he did.

Pablo, sure he could pinch a bit, maybe. And he'd probably sting if you grabbed him. But look at those eyes, and imagine being hugged by those furry forelegs!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

What a cool bee! He looks a little like the Ewoks from one of the Star Wars movies!