BIML Update - Xeromelecta, Bee Pictures, Halictus, Nomada, Bee Taxonomic Literature
Thanks to Tracy Zarrillo for the new BIML logo!
Xeromelecta - Jelle Devalez has now revised the guide and completed it for North America north of Mexico
Denise Williams has been busy in our lab requesting the use of new pictures of bee species (many identified by the ID powerhouse John Ascher) on Bugguide and elsewhere on the web and adding these to the species pages in Discoverlife. There is now a growing collection of comparative shots available on Discoverlife
Try this: Go to www.discoverlife.org type a Genus name for a group of bees into the search box. Scroll down until you see the list of "Kinds" and just above that will be links to various summaries of pictures for that genus
Below is that feature for Osmia
Michael Orr has created the following addition to the Halictus guide:
Female, Halictus tripartitus vs H. virgatellus
H. tripartitus - Head comparatively short, hinge of mandible abuts the bottom of the eye - Striations of the dorsal triangle clear and well formed into neat parallel lines - Pits on scutum and scutellum comparatively smaller, slightly wider spaced, and surface uniformly smooth and shiny - Size comparatively smaller
H. virgatellus - Head comparatively long, with a clear space between bottom of the eye and the hinge of the mandible - Striations of the dorsal triangle vague and not forming neat columns - Pits on scutum and scutellum comparatively larger, closely spaced, and surface slightly more undulating between the pits - Size comparatively larger
New State Records
- Osmia michiganensis - WI the Apostle Islands....perhaps the western most record at this point for the Great Lakes sand specialist.
- Lasioglossum michiganense - VA .... captured by Edd Barrows in one of his malaise samples from Dyke Marsh along the Potomac River across from Washington D.C. (likely not captured in the marsh proper, but along the border woodlands).
Nomada - Probable New Species
In amongst a large number of interesting specimens sent from Florida by Glenn Hall were a series of distinctive male Nomada. These specimens were similar to the rarely collected N. electa and even more rarely collected N. electella (but more closely affiliated with N. electa) but were clearly different. No females were collected. So, at this point we are tentatively putting them in the guide as N. near electa. A way to tell them apart is given below.
N. electa - Yellow at the base of the mandible extending over half way to the tip and to, or nearly to, the base of the typical red area at the end of the mandible - In direct comparison, the mandible is stouter - A wide yellow marking extends from the base of the mandible and runs about one quarter to one third of the way along the border of the eye along the cheek - Antennal segments F1 and F2 with scattered, noticeable apically pointing setae arising from the apical ends of the underside, these setae about 2x as long as the other hairs - Spine-like setae on the apical end of hind tibiae clearly visible, dark red, thick, 5-8, and shorter than the surrounding hairs - Hind tibiae with yellow markings at the basal and apical ends and connected together via a narrow line along the outer face - Rear face of the propodeum entirely black - In direct comparison, the tegula is larger - Primarily found in the New England to Northern Mid-Atlantic region
N. near electa - Yellow at the base of the mandible extending only about one third of the way to the tip - In direct comparison, the mandibles are more slender - There is no yellow mark running along the eye near the base of the mandible, but, at times there is a slight orange smudge near the mandible base - Antennal segments F1 and F2 with only slightly longer apically pointing setae arising from the apical ends of the underside, these setae only slightly longer than the surrounding hairs - Spine-like setae on apical end of hind tibiae NOT clearly visible, thin, difficult to differentiate from surrounding hairs, 2-4 and about as long as the surrounding hairs - Hind tibiae with no yellow markings - An orange-red line extends along the rear face of the propodeum near to and paralleling the border with the lateral face - In direct comparison, the tegula is smaller - Found only in Florida so far
The Nomada guides have been updated in the following ways:
I have moved N. dreisbachi and N. ceanothi to the group of species that are likely synonyms. What remains within the Nomada group of species with thin white setae on the hind tarsi most visible in the female) that make up perhaps the most common group in the East (in addition to the bidentate mandible species) that list includes:
N. sayi/N. illinoensis
(and perhaps a species restricted to the Smokies)
N. florilega still needs definition and the male is unknown; N. denticulata and N. armatella are readily identified by unique characters; N. parva was covered in a previous email. Advice on the identification of the remaining males (N. cressonii, N. pygmaea, N. sayi/illinoensis) is now in the guide as presented below:
N. cressonii - In direct comparison, the LARGEST species - In direct comparison, the mandibles are STOUT - T2-6 almost always with yellow markings - The marks on T2-3 usually come CLOSE TO TOUCHING in the center, but there is always at least a line separating the two sections - T2 always separated by less than the width of the yellow mark apart - Scutum, scutellum, metanotum, and rear face of propodeum almost always extensively red, in particular the scutellum appears to always be COMPLETELY RED without a notch or break along the midline, but at times with a black border along the suture with the scutum
N. illinoensis and N. sayi - In direct comparison the smallest species and often confused with N. parva - In comparison, the mandibles are thin and slightly elongate - Thorax, scutum, often all black, but individuals with extensive red exist too - Abdomen, T3 and usually T2, with yellow marks separated in the center by MORE THAN the width of these marks and NOT extending to the other tergites except rarely as small marks or relatively indistinct smudges - Note - The author is currently unsure if there are real differences between the two described species
N. pygmaea - In direct comparison, INTERMEDIATE between the other two species with plenty of overlap - Mandibles comparatively STOUT and the primary way of differentiating this species from N. sayi and N. illinoensis - The absence of anything more than a smudgy orange spot on S6 differentiates this species from N. cressonii, BUT in a FEW heavily marked individuals this spot will be present and differentiating from N. cressonii can only be done by inspecting and comparing a series of both - Scutum often all black but regularly almost completely red - T2- T3 always with strong yellow markings laterally can come close to touching in the center, but always with at least a line separating the two sections, T4-6 may or may not have yellow markings, if present, they tend to be less extensive than in N. cressonii - Scutellum often either completely black or with red patches laterally or the red being divided by black in the center, these specimens can be differentiated from N. cressonii, however, some do have all red on the scutellum and other characters have to be used
Others - DOUBLE CHECK your work - Many other species look similar, so look VERY closely at the tibial setae, all males faintly echo the setae of the females but are less stout and lighter in color and consequently are often EXTREMELY difficult to detect without a lot of practice - In this group you will see, again, with practice, a series of longer white setae about the same thickness as the rest of the hairs protruding from the surrounding hairs and decending in length - Also, look for body SIZE differences and differences in the OVERALL COLOR and SHAPE as further clues - The author still finds a fair number of specimens that have the general characters of the above species, but do not exactly match the patterns given here, those it is best to leave LABELED as Nomada sp.
Identification of the females will be worked on over the next month. There are probably close to 20 existing Nomada names in the literature for this group and over the next few months we will be exploring the types to see what synonymies and name changes are required.
Taxonomic Bee Literature
For your Information.....We have begun a project to scan and collect all the taxonomically related bee literature in OCR'd pdf format. Ultimately we will have make this available to anyone who wants to send us a large capacity memory stick or hard drive. After Christmas we will put out a preliminary list of what we have and recruit from the bee monitoring community missing documents. But, at this point we aren't ready to coordinate with anyone so hold on for just a bit, please.
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
(for Rona, Jeremy, Sam & Grace)
All the lizards are asleep--
perched pagodas with tiny triangular tiles,
each milky lid a steamed-up window.
Inside, the heart repeats itself like a sleepy gong,
summoning nothing to nothing.
In winter time, the zoo reverts to metaphor,
God's poetry of boredom:
the cobra knits her Fair-Isle skin,
rattlers titter over the same joke.
All of them endlessly finish spaghetti.
The python runs down like a spring,
and time stops on some ancient Sabbath.
Pythagorean bees are shut inside the hive,
which hymns and hums like Sunday chapel--
drowsy thoughts in a wrinkled brain.
The fire's gone out--
crocodiles lie like wet beams,
cross-hatched by flames that no one can remember.
Grasshoppers shiver, chafe their limbs
and try to keep warm,
crouching on their marks perpetually.
The African cricket is trussed like a cold chicken:
the sneeze of movement returns it to the same position,
in the same body. There is no change.
The rumple-headed lion has nowhere to go
and snoozes in his grimy combinations.
A chaise lounge with missing castors,
the walrus is stuck forever on his rock.
Sleepily, the seals play crib,
scoring on their upper lips.
The chimps kill fleas and time,
sewing nothing to nothing
Vultures in their shabby Sunday suits
fidget with broken umbrellas,
while the ape beats his breast
and yodels out repentance.
Their feet are an awful dream of bunions--
but the buffalo's brazil nut bugle-horns
can never sound reveille.
- Craig Raine