Aug 22 – Identification Progress

Hi Everyone!

It was just me in the lab last week. Things were much quieter in comparison to the previous weeks with all the students. We are up to over 16,700 bees identified to at least genus and over 10,000 bees identified to species. Still plenty of work to go, but we will keep chugging along.

Identification fun:

We have over two thousand Calliopsis andreniformis. The females are black with distinct facial patterns. However, we have at least a few individuals with particularly reduced facial patterns like the image above. As far as I can tell it is just variation within the species, but it is interesting to see the level of variation that we are encountering.

Given the number of Calliopsis that we have in the samples, it is not surprising that we have so many of their parasitic bee counterpart, Holcopasites calliopsidis. This is a black and red parasitic bee with small white patches of hair on the abdomen that help determine the species level ID. I often find these parasitic bees resting on fleabane flowers, so keep an eye out for their red butts when you walk by fleabane.

We also have many yellow faced bees in the genus Hylaeus. This female was conveniently sticking out her tongue to show us the “paint brush” mouthparts that she uses to paint the cellophane like material that line their nests.

It should be unsurprising that we also have a ton of dull green sweat bees (Genus Lasioglossum). We also have been getting a few of the parasitic Lasioglossums.

The parasitic Lasioglossums have extra long mandibles and a wider face in comparison to the other sweat bees. We haven’t identified most of our Lasioglossum, so we are saving the final ID of these for a later date.

Guess That Structure:

I’ll give everyone one more week to try to guess these spine structures on this bee. No one guessed correctly last week.

All for now,


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