BIML update - Melissodes, Green Bees, Nomada, Coelioxys, Vespula
New State Record
Nomada sulphurata - WV - The fabulous Jane Whitaker collected a specimen in Randolph County
Coelioxys modesta Identification Tips:
On the female, at the very tip of T6, (thus the very end of the upperside of the abdomen) there is located a peg- or knob-like projection that is distinctly upturned, sometimes hidden among the hairs, but very obvious under the microscope.
Males have a set of enlarged pits on T3 that are about 3-4 times the size of the surrounding pits, these pits are located about halfway between the sides and the centerline. These pits can be a bit difficult to detect due to the general business of the pitting of the segment. It is not clear whether these features for the male and female are absolutely distinctive for this species, but we know of no other species with them at this time.
M. bidentis, M. dentiventris, M. desponsa – Species with T3-5 without white hair bands and with pale hairs on scutum, note there can be a tiny set of black hairs in the center of the posterior edge
M. bidentis – At least some hairs on the clypeus nearly as long as on the rest of the face and all hairs pale - Mesepisternum with extensive pale hairs, black hairs restricted to the anterior edge and ventral portion of the segment - The unpitted portion of the rim of T2 extends back across half or more of the segment, although this is based on only a small number of specimens observed - In direct comparison smaller – Generally uncommon
M. dentiventris – Hairs on the clypeus nearly as long as on the rest of the face and over half black with pale hairs usually lining the basal margin - Mesepisternum with a patch of pale hairs extending a little less than half way down - The unpitted portion of the rim of T2 extends back only about one quarter or less of the segment - In direct comparison larger - Generally uncommon
M. desponsa – Hairs on the clypeus much shorter than long hairs on the rest of the face and entirely black - Mesepisternum almost entirely black, with only a small patch of white hairs directly below the tegula and pronotal lobe – The unpitted portion of the rim of T2 extends back across half or more of the segment - In direct comparison larger – Usually the most common
Vespula vulgaris now V. alascensis (Packard)
Lynn Kimsey sent me a note that in the recent publication by Carpenter and Glare (2010) that the North American population of Vespula vulgaris has been determined to be a separate species and an older synonym has been resurrected to specieshood...V. alascensis (Packard). She has sent me the paper and I will try and see what needs redoing in the guide.
In many parts of North America any survey of bees will generate a large selection of bright green metallic Halictids of the 3 Augochlorini genera and Agapostemon. Each group has distinctive features, but the problem is that they are all on different places on the bees (e.g., propodeum, mandible, wing, clypeus, tegula, etc.). This is fine, but requires a degree of handling for each specimen that can be time consuming. Recently, I realized that simply looking at the propodeal triangle and the scutum (generally visible at the same time or with only minimal shifting) can result in identification to species for all of these groups with a little experience. This approach uses somewhat qualitative features so it really requires that you have a lot of ID time for this group under you belt before using this shortcut, but it really doesn't take much time to pick up....and that is what reference material is for...
ONE SHOT GREEN BEE ID CHEAT SHEET for much of the East (excluding Florida....!)
Agapostemon - Raised carina (line) completely surrounding the rear face of the propodeum. See the guides for how to tell the individual species apart.
Augochlora pura - Surface of the scutum uniformly pitted and without noticeable cragginess, rugosity, or roughness towards the anterior edge (by the head); slightly bigger, slightly broader and robust, head a bit more massive; tends to be a straightforward green color.
Augochlorella aurata - Striations of the propodeal triangle reach all the way to the rim and usually (but not always) the rim is sharply marked by a raised carina or line; scutum surface become noticeably rough towards the head and pits on the surface become difficult to see in this area; overall smaller, slimmer, and usually with a gold hue to the green
Augochlorella persimillus - Similar to A. aurata but smaller still and more golden/brassy yellow in color; rear edge of the propodeum NOT sharply marked with a carina or raised line, but smoothly transitioning (see guide for more details)
Augochloropsis metallica - Tegula highly modified and not oval; abdomen more reflective than the others and usually (but not always) with a strong band of uniform and parallel hairs along the rim (fimbria); propodeal triangle almost without any striations, very smooth, and without much of a dorsal surface
This will certainly speed up your bees per hour.
Sam Droege sdroege@...
w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705
A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:
just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.
She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once
as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.
- Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Stephen Mitchell