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Measuring bee body size

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  • ariellag@post.tau.ac.il
    Hi everyone We wish to assess the body size of bees collected in our research group. Can you please advise us from your own experience on the best way to
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 11, 2010
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      Hi everyone

      We wish to assess the body size of bees collected in our research group.
      Can you please advise us from your own experience on the best way to
      measure the distance between the wing bases (the inter-tegular span)
      of a bee?
      Our bees range from tiny Nomioides to impressive Xylocopa species.
      We were wondering if the ocular micrometer in a dissecting microscope
      can be very accurate measuring bees of very different sizes, and if a
      separate digital caliper or micrometer be better for the job.


      Thanks for your thoughts


      Ariella



      Ariella Gotlieb
      Dr. Yael Mandelik's lab
      Faculty of Agriculture
      Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
    • Cane, Jim
      Ariela- the ocular micrometer of a dissecting microscope is perfect for measuring intertegular span of a bee. You will first need to calibrate it with a stage
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 11, 2010
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        Ariela- the ocular micrometer of a dissecting microscope is perfect for measuring intertegular span of a bee.  You will first need to calibrate it with a stage micrometer slide, but once done, it is good forever.

         

        Yours,

         

        jim

         

        ===============================

        James H. Cane

        USDA-ARS Bee Biology and Systematics Lab

        Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322 USA

        tel: 435-797-3879   FAX: 435-797-0461

        email: Jim.Cane@... 

        http://www.ars.usda.gov/npa/logan/beelab

        http://www.biology.usu.edu/people/facultyinfo.asp?username=jcane

        Gardening for Native Bees: http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/plants-pollinators09.pdf

         

        "The obscure takes time to see,

        but the obvious takes longer"
        Edward R. Murrow

         

      • ariellag@post.tau.ac.il
        Hi all Thanks a lot for responding to my question on the best way to measure body size. Sam Droege asked me to summarize your suggestions for the benefit of
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 13, 2010
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          Hi all

          Thanks a lot for responding to my question on the best way to measure
          body size.
          Sam Droege asked me to summarize your suggestions for the benefit of
          the group, so here they are.

          The 1st one is from Jim Cane:

          The ocular micrometer of a dissecting microscope is perfect for
          measuring intertegular span of a bee. You will first need to
          calibrate it with a stage micrometer slide, but once done, it is good
          forever.


          The 2nd one is from Jack Neff:

          The ocular micrometer in your dissecting scope should work fine for
          measuring trans-tegular distances, especially if it has a relatively
          fine scale. It probably will be better than a digital caliper for
          very small bees. You should remember estimating mass from a single
          body measurement assumes a similarity of shape and you can get
          significant deviations from this when comparing long skinny bees (like
          Chelostoma) with "fat" ones like Xylocopa. In an ideal world, the
          best way to compare size is to actually weigh them.


          The 3rd is from Anita Collins:

          USDA did a lot of bee measuring to identify Africanized specimens vs.
          European. We actually did a dissection and projected a part, such as
          a leg, o n a digital pad. Software was then used to make the actual
          measurement, which was fed directly into a statistical calculation
          based on 10 samples.

          The 4th is from Charlie Guevara:

          Wards Science.com has a slide micrometer for about $15 USD. With that
          and the ocular reticule you already have...you can calibrate various
          'work-horse microscopes you have'. Be careful of using: 'zoom
          magnification adjust' microscopes...you may have trouble knowing
          exactly what magnification your using the ocular reticule (ocular
          micrometer) with...after hours of 'one of a kind/nonrepeatable'
          specimen data record sessions...you may not have exactly the same
          zoom-setting on the scope you’re working with!



          Thank you all

          Ariella
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