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Anthophora as a tameable species for agriculture

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  • Sam Droege
    Anothophora plumipes was introduced in the 1980s as a possible agricultural pollinator to Beltsville, Maryland about 1 mile from my lab. They nest in clay
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 22, 2012
      Anothophora plumipes was introduced in the 1980s as a possible agricultural pollinator to Beltsville, Maryland about 1 mile from my lab.   They nest in clay banks in the wild and can be made to nest in adobe or clay blocks which could be transported to fields or simply built in place.    I am not sure that any work has been done with the species in terms of its agricultural pollination potential here in North America, likely due to the fact that it is only recently that their populations have become substantial.  Suzanne Batra retired almost 10 years ago now.

      It is interesting to note that the native Antophora abrupta also nests in the same situations but only comes out in this region in late May while A. plumipes comes out from late March to early April.  

      While there has been a lot of work in creating nesting sites for hole nesting bees that occupy drilled holes or the internodes of grasses, nothing to almost nothing (I am hedging my bets here) has been done with clay nesting species in North America.  However, one only has to visit the few traditional adobe structures remaining or the newer strawbale/cob structures that have been plastered with adobe to see that we have a  suite of clay nesting species that can aggregate in large numbers and are therefore amenable to manipulation and even transport to crop fields.  

      While potentially useful in that they aggregate and can occupy man-made structures, a bigger question would be to investigate what crops they would be most useful for in pollinating.  I have seen A. plumipes on a variety of blooming woody plants regionally, but have little understanding of where A. abrupta goes to get pollen (other than the prickly pear plants on my property).

      A. plumipes habit of coming out very early in the spring, ability to nest in transportable blocks, and what appears to be its general nature to gather pollen from woody plants make it a candidate for Almond pollination.   On the dark side is the fact that it is a non-native species and its downstream impacts to our native fauna and flora have not be evaluated...though, the opportunity is there since it is rapidly increasing and could be investigated as it invades from its Maryland epicenter.

      Below are collection dates from our database for A. plumipes
      20030402
      20030327
      20040415
      20050509
      20050415
      20050425
      20050509
      20050411
      20050411
      20050411
      20050411
      20050411
      20050411
      20050411
      20050411
      20050411
      20050411
      20050425
      20050425
      20050425
      20050425
      20050418
      20050413
      20050413
      20050413
      20050425
      20050405
      20050329
      20060416
      20060416
      20060416
      20060421
      20070329
      20090327
      20090327
      20090327
      20090327
      20090405
      20090405
      20090417
      20090416
      20070524
      20100425
      20100425
      20100425
      20100425
      20110319
      20110418
      20110418
      20110418
      20110420
      20110420
      20110420
      20110420
      20110413
      20110330
      20110429
      20110429
      20110429
      20110410
      20110410
      20110410
      20110429
      20110429
      20110510
      20100422
      20110427

      Here are the dates for A. abrupta

      20060619
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20060602
      20070611
      20070607
      20080615
      20080616
      20080616
      20080616
      20080616
      20080616
      20090530
      20090628
      20090522
      20070607
      20100518
      20100601
      20100601
      20110527
      20110527
      20110603

      sam

      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
      Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

      Vernal Equinox


      Dusk. A muddy path above the river.
      Osoberries blooming. Cottonwoods budding.
      Pockets of warm air lingering under willows.
      Rank odors of algae and fish.


      Ground fog settles in the deer-browsed grass.
      Sickle moon and the fires pale stars.
      Spring peepers hush as I approach.
      begin singing again when I've passed by.


      - Charles Goodrichky



      From:david almquist <daidunno@...>
      To:<ascher@...>, <inouye@...>, <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>
      Date:04/22/2012 12:33 AM
      Subject:RE: [beemonitoring] ID?
      Sent by:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com





       

      Introduced why?


      To: inouye@...; beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
      From: ascher@...
      Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2012 20:05:06 +0000
      Subject: RE: [beemonitoring] ID?

       


      I think it's an Anthophora plumipes female, one of the exotic species introduced by Suzanne Batra et al. of the USDA.

      John


      [attachment "30d1871a.jpg" deleted by Sam Droege/BRD/USGS/DOI]

    • Leo Shapiro
      Now there s an excellent question, especially since this was not a century ago, before biologists knew any better!
      Message 2 of 10 , Apr 22, 2012
        Now there's an excellent question, especially since this was not a century ago, before biologists knew any better!

        On Apr 22, 2012, at 12:33 AM, david almquist wrote:


        Introduced why?
         

        To: inouye@...; beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
        From: ascher@...
        Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2012 20:05:06 +0000
        Subject: RE: [beemonitoring] ID?

         

        I think it's an Anthophora plumipes female, one of the exotic species introduced by Suzanne Batra et al. of the USDA.

        John





      • Leo Shapiro
        I have a little colony with nests in the ground in a large space (open on two sides but heavily shaded) under my house in MD, just a few miles from where, I
        Message 3 of 10 , Apr 22, 2012
          I have a little colony with nests in the ground in a large space (open on two sides but heavily shaded) under my house in MD, just a few miles from where, I suspect, they were originally released (Beltsville?). I have never seen a black one. 

          Sam, why not get hold of some Japanese, MD, and European samples and have a look at their DNA? Or has this been done?

          Leo


          On Apr 21, 2012, at 10:06 PM, Sam Droege wrote:

          All: 

          Indeed it is A. plumipes...and they are not  black like many of the European/British individuals.  Their point of origin was Japan where they are lighter and were initially called A. pilipes.   Likely they should be split back to their original names.  This species is now quite common in the D.C. area and populations are growing rapidly.  At my house they have managed to build numerous nests in the mud walls of my house.,   

          Note that there are no records for Philadelphia or Baltimore yet! 

          sam 

          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
          Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

          The frog in the well knows nothing of the great ocean.
            -Japanese Proverb




          From:David Inouye <inouye@...>
          To:John Ascher <ascher@...>, "beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com" <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>
          Date:04/21/2012 05:11 PM
          Subject:RE: [beemonitoring] ID?
          Sent by:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com





           

          Thanks John (and Doug).  For what it's worth, Wikipedia says that females can be black or brown.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthophora_plumipes

          At 04:05 PM 4/21/2012, John Ascher wrote:

          I think it's an Anthophora plumipes female, one of the exotic species introduced by Suzanne Batra et al. of the USDA.

          John



          From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] on behalf of David Inouye [inouye@...]
          Sent:
           Saturday, April 21, 2012 3:00 PM
          To:
           beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
          Subject:
           [beemonitoring] ID?


           

          A gardener sent this photo, taken in Maryland.  Know what it is?  Looks like it has some spider web or something like that on a wing. 

          <mime-attachment.jpeg> 




        • Doug Yanega
          John et al.: Is it possible the bee in David s photo is Anthophora furcata? The thoracic coloration of furcata, I noticed, matches the photo a bit better, in
          Message 4 of 10 , Apr 23, 2012
            John et al.:

            Is it possible the bee in David's photo is Anthophora furcata? The
            thoracic coloration of furcata, I noticed, matches the photo a bit
            better, in having pale hairs at the front and back edges, and the
            pale facial hairs wouldn't be visible from the angle in David's photo:

            http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/ejournal/pgs_03/pgs_03.html

            http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7156/6522038695_f8378965ce_z.jpg
            --

            Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
            Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
            phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
            http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
            "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
            is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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