Another to watch for Halictus tectus
This Mediterranean species was first seen in downtown Philadelphia in 2005 and subsequently in Suburban DC, then Baltimore, and just this past week in numerous spots along the National Mall in D.C.
The general theme in all these spots is heavily used, urban, generally weedy environments, though, I can't really call the National Mall "weedy." but it was found at the Botanic Garden and the "Pollinator" garden which are heavily planted with native and exotic nectar and pollen plants.
This species is the size of Halictus confusus and has the same integument color and general characteristics, however it is covered in BRIGHT white appressed hairs, enough to be noticeable even flight. Here is what we say in the DL guide:
H. confusus - Common native species - The striated region of the upper portion of propodeum longitudinally longer than metanotum - Body hairs primarily tan-gold in color - Lacking any significant amount of appressed hairs of any color except along the rims of the tergites.
H. tectus - Rare recent European arrival - The striated region of the upper portion of propodeum longitudinally shorter than metanotum - Body hairs primarily bright white - Usually body is densely covered with short, bright white appressed hairs, particularly noticeable on the rear face of the propodeum
When in the field the males (and perhaps the females too, am not completely sure) fly very quickly from flower to flower... in a manner more like a miniature Eucerine than one of our lackadaisical native Halictines. Fast enough that the best capture technique (for me) seems to be simply whipping the net back and forth across the tops of the plants being visited.
At this point, they must be in NJ and it would seem almost certainly in NYC...but I would not be looking so much in central park as in the backs of ball fields, weedy lots, bad neighborhoods, docks, and places your mother warned you not to go.
Almost certainly they are also in the docks area of Toronto.
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
Ants on the Melon
Once when our blacktop city
was still a topsoil town
we carried to Formicopolis
a cantaloupe rind to share
and stooped to plop it down
in their populous Times Square
at the subway of the ants
and saw that hemisphere
blacken and rise and dance
with antmen out of hand
wild for their melon toddies
just like our world next year
no place to step or stand
except on bodies.
- VIRGINIA HAMILTON ADAIR