Aug 1 – Updates of the week

We did it! We finally sorted all the kits that we had turned in so far! There are still a few unaccounted for kits that I know exist, but we have successfully sorted the kits we do have, sorting the kits by S. Upperman (Wayne) and P. Dutton (Holmes) last week. We still need to wash and pin a few bees, but our current number of bees pinned and databased is close to 52,000.

These pizza boxes are almost all of our 52,000 bees. So there is plenty of work ahead to get these identified. We will slowly but surely make it through them.

Since we finished the sorting, I have started training our student assistants on identifying select groups of bees. So far, they have started pulling out the male Calliopsis andreniformis, m +  f Melissodes bimaculatus, and the bright green bees. I have been identifying specimens as well, so we are now to almost 6k specimens to at least genus and almost 4k specimens identified to species. Several of these were identified back in February, so we really only added 500 species level IDs this week.

Left to right are Calliopsis, Melissodes, and Augochlorini. The male Calliopsis are distinct with their entirely yellow legs, yellow face, and otherwise black body. The Melissodes bimaculatus are also distinct with their larger size, mostly black hairy body, and two yellow spots on females (or diffuse white hairs on males). The bright green bees are distinctly bright green, though this group includes several different genera, so we will need to ID them lower once we get them all together.

The other update this week is that we got a demonstration of a Hirox 3D microscope.

In a matter of seconds, the representative had several high quality, high magnification stacked images of one of our Lasioglossum specimens. For those of you who have struggled to identify and see Lasioglossum, you know how hard this is.

Full body shot of a Lasioglossum specimen. Photographed by Christian L. Munoz.

We also convinced him to get a closer image of the thorax showing the pitting.  We could have probably played around with the settings more to get a sharper image, but I was still very impressed with the result given that it only took a few seconds to get this image. Photographed by Christian L. Munoz.


A rather unusual Stilleto Fly was found in Blyth’s kit from last week. Not many people get to see these odd flies. They are similar to robber flies, but have spongy mouthparts instead. The larvae are thought to be predatory. See more here:

No clowning around! This clown beetle was in Kadonaga’s kit. This family of beetles have a diverse range of niches, with the exact niche depending on the species. See:

Other Updates:

There have been bee ID courses offered by Sam Droege and Clare Maffei. They have all the videos posted here:

I plan to have several of our students watch these videos as they go in depth for the different groups. They are also creating nice ID resources, which can be found here:

All for now,


6 thoughts on “Aug 1 – Updates of the week

  1. MaLisa, congratulations on sorting all kits that you have at present. Thank you for continuing to update us on this project’s progress. Your posts are always interesting & often fun to read!

  2. I have been watching for the results of Perry County’s catch but haven’t seen a post about it – maybe I overlooked it.

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