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Stylopized Bees Wanted for Research Study

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  • Sam Droege
    All: Jakub Straka (straka-jakub@vol.cz) is doing some very interesting work on the Strepsiptera parasites that sometimes parasitize bees. He is looking for
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 7, 2008


      Jakub Straka (straka-jakub@...) is doing some very interesting work on the Strepsiptera parasites that sometimes parasitize bees.  He is looking for infected specimens to do genetic and morphological studies.  I have added a section to the Handy Bee Manual about this but wanted to put this out to the group as well.  Below is the new section.  Please get in contact with Jakub directly about sending him any old or new specimens you may have.

      I have added a picture of a stylopized Andrena that Jakub sent.

      You can see that picture at:




      Stylopized Bees –  As you identify bees you will at times come across bees that have an infestation of mites and more rarely bees that have been parasitized by a Strepsipteran (i.e., stylopized).  

      Strepsiptera is a mysterious order of unclear position within the holometabolous insects. They are endoparasites of various other insect orders including a diverse array of Hymenoptera.
      Families Andrenidae, Halictidae, and Colletidae are the most frequently parasitized bees.

      One can find male puparia (MP), empty male puparia (EMP) and adult females (F) in bees. MP are usually very large spherical extrusions, however findings of these are quite rare. More frequently you can find EMP, these are sometimes hidden and difficult to recognize. In some cases, EMP appears as an obvious deformation. F cephalothoraces are most commonly encountered in bees and appear as small orange/brown plate-like extrusions that emerge from beneath the rim of the tergites of the abdomen (see figure below).  Upon seeing one you will have the impression of a small head peaking out from beneath the rim. Sometimes the apical rim of the tergite covers most of the parasites body (in most Halictidae) and will appear almost invisible from the dorsal view. However, the rim of the tergite is usually lifted upwards and the Strepsipteran can be viewed when looking under the rim.  

      Strepsiptera can modify not just the morphological features of the site where they are attached but the morphological characteristics of the entire bee, including the sexual characters of bees. At times the characteristics of the bee are changed enough to partially disguise the species identity of the specimen.  Deformations occur among all bee hosts, but they are quite rare. Sexual character changes are manipulated by the parasites and occur only in some groups - most bees of the family Andrenidae and some Hylaeus (Colletidae).

      Jakub Straka, a researcher from the Czech Republic, is working on the taxonomic and ecological facets of Strepsiptera. He is very interested in collecting host records for this group, parasitism rates, and specimens for DNA analysis. If you come across any stylopized specimens in your collecting activities please contact Jakub (straka-jakub@...). This group occurs uncommonly so even single records are of great interest.


      Sam Droege  Sam_Droege@...                      
      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

                But nature is a stranger yet;
               The ones that cite her most
               Have never passed her haunted house,
               Nor simplified her ghost.

                To pity those that know her not
               Is helped by the regret
               That those who know her, know her less
               The nearer her they get.
                     --Emily Dickinson

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