Ohio Bee Survey – May Updates and a road trip to Indiana!

Hi everyone,

May is a busy month, with grad students focusing on field work while MaLisa is busy with the final identifications of all the specimens. We are down to the final bit of bees, so things are tidying up!

Rob Jean works for Environmental Solutions & Innovations, Inc. His bee reference specimens are in the office and he has compiled a nice collection!

MaLisa did a road trip out to  Indiana last week to visit Rob Jean and his bee collection. Rob took a look at several of our specimens and MaLisa was able to access the reference specimens to compare IDs in some of the tricky groups.

Rob busy looking through many specimens. He was verifying my Andrena IDs from the specialist bee project and also looking at several Lasioglossum specimens.

If you haven’t identified before, it is worth noting the importance of reference collections. Many identification keys are not illustrated and instead only have text descriptions of the characters you are looking for. A character might be listed as “densely pitted” or “strongly curved” but without an illustration that can be subjective. How dense is dense? How curved is curved? Having a known verified specimen of a species allows you to run through all the characters and better understand what those characters mean. So imagine my surprise when I learned that the Andrena macra specimen with the “strongly curved” inner tibial spur looks like the image below.

Mitchell called this inner tibial spur “strongly curved” but it sure seems only mildly curved in my book. Hence why having access to reference specimens, images, and other detailed descriptions is important for double checking identifications.

I also got to check out other species of Andrena that are rare or not expected to occur in Ohio.

This is Andrena jessicae, which is found down in Texas and New Mexico. It is similar to Andrena erythrogaster, which is our red abdomen species that is a specialist on willows and occurs in our area. But Andrena jessicae has mostly been collected on a different family of plants and has a differently sculpted propodeum.

Rob also let me see the new species that he is working on describing! It is a very distinct and charismatic Andrena with several very unique characters. I know we didn’t get any of these bees in our samples, but he does expect them to range into Ohio!
The new species specimens are blurred out since he has not yet published that data.

Another fun species to see was Andrena cerebrata, where the males have these very large knobs on the hind cheeks. It is thought to be a specialist on Mock Orange, so if you have that blooming, watch out for this bee!

Another fun species, I got to see a male (yellow on face) and female (all dark) Andrena bradleyi! It is thought to be a specialist on plants in the family Ericaceae, so they have these extra long clypeus to hypothetically help them get deeper into the flowers.

The female Andrena bradleyi. Why the long face?

One of the groups of Andrena I was struggling with were the ones with rough propodeums and wide facial fovea. Rob had references for many of them, so it was nice to be able to see the species I did not have and compare.

A male Andrena quintilisThe pitting on the male Andrena quintilis

Otherwise, our updates are that we are still working on the final report and the archival process. I appreciate the people who have stopped out to the lab to help us with the monumental task of moving specimens from the pizza boxes and into the archival drawers. If you have some free time, you are welcome to visit the lab and help us with that transfer!

All for now,


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