Nov 8th – Bee Survey Update and weird wasps

Hi Everyone,

We made it up to 37,000 bees identified to at least genus, with 18,800 of those identified to species. We are slowly creeping towards our goal.

Slowly but surely, we will get to 100% identified to at least genus.


Not quite bees:

Occasionally, some non-bee wasps got past my sorting efforts and ended up getting pinned. Interestingly, it seems that cleptoparasitic wasps were more often accidentally pinned. These wasps look very similar to the cleptoparasitic bees, but they are actually in the family Crabronidae.

This Epinysson wasp looks superficially similar to Epeolus cleptoparasitic bees, but it is instead a parasitic wasp in the family Crabronidae. It was collected by K. Salvagno from Morrow County.

We also got a wasp that I believe is in the genus Nysson. It was collected by B. Stitt in Medina County.

Many of these non-bee wasps can look very similar to bees. I find that looking at them face on helps differentiate them from bees, as the antennae are often really low on the face of the Crabronids and *typically* rest more towards the center on most bees (with exceptions like Duforea). You can also look at the submarginal cells (see above image) to notice the odd shape which would be unusual for a bee.

Our last weird wasp is in the genus Oxybelus in the family Crabronidae. This genus has distinct flanges on the end of the thorax, which would be unusual for most bees (though Coelioxys also has projections in the same area, though they are a different shape). This was collected by C. Gottfried in Wyandot County.


Bycatch updates:

Between the undergraduate student and our intern, we have made good progress on the hover fly project! We have around 8,000 specimens, with 7,300 of those now identified in the genus Toxomerus. The second most abundant genus was Eumerus with under 200 specimens. The larvae of the genus Eumerus are considered pests of allium and similar plants. Meanwhile, larvae of Toxomerus are considered beneficial since they eat aphids and other soft bodied insects.

We have about 400 hover fly specimens that still need identified to genus, so Eumerus could have it’s second place spot usurped by one of the other genera.

In general, the hover fly specimens do not fare nearly as well as they bees. Many of the specimens are shrunken and shriveled from the bowl traps and then freeze/thaw. This specimen is unusual in that it is in relatively good shape, but lacks the typical markings in the center of the abdomen. We are currently thinking this is just an aberrant Toxomerus marginatus.


Bored? Want to help out in the lab?

Email MaLisa to visit the Newark lab and help with various tasks. We have simple things like trimming labels to more challenging things, like identifying Ceratina bees or learning harder taxa. Just let me know when and how you would like to help.

All for now,

MaLisa

2 thoughts on “Nov 8th – Bee Survey Update and weird wasps

  1. Hi MaLisa,
    I just want to tell you that you are doing a super job at increasing the understanding of bees (and other taxa).

    I’m a forest entomologist (ret), and assisted my wife Barbara Dewey in your project.

    I wish we lived closer to your lab so we could help in other ways.

    • Thanks!

      Yea, we are an awkward distance for most people, so we know it is hard for a lot of people to join us.

      Best wishes,
      MaLisa

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