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RE: [beemonitoring] On the use of the word "metallic" in descriptions of bees [11 Attachments]

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  • Wilson, Michael E
    As a novice, I vote for dividing metallic into more detailed descriptions as Sam suggests. Metallic as used in the guides now is extremely broad and becomes
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 5, 2009
      RE: [beemonitoring] On the use of the word "metallic" in descriptions of bees [11 Attachments]

      As a novice, I vote for dividing metallic into more detailed descriptions as Sam
      suggests. Metallic as used in the guides now is extremely broad and becomes unusable
      very quickly considering how many types of 'metallic' bees there are.

      Maybe metallic could be used as one step in the key, except for those bees that do not reflect light, 
      then use the more detailed descriptions down the line? I suppose that idea might alter the keys
      too much to implement though.


      -Michael Wilson

      The University of Tennessee
      Knoxville, TN

      -----Original Message-----
      From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Crumbling.Deana@...
      Sent: Thu 11/5/2009 9:20 AM
      To: Wedge_Watkins@...
      Cc: barbara.abraham@...; beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com; sdroege@...
      Subject: RE: [beemonitoring] On the use of the word "metallic" in descriptions of bees [11 Attachments]

      Perhaps we just need better explanations of terms such as those, along
      with easily accessible, good pictures of the features.

      Deana Crumbling, M.S.
      Environmental Scientist | Technology Innovation Program
      U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
      MC 5203P | 1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW | Washington, DC 20460
      Phone: 703-603-0643  | Fax: 703-603-9135

      | From:      |
        |Wedge_Watkins@...                                                                                                                     |
      | To:        |
        |<barbara.abraham@...>                                                                                                            |
      | Cc:        |
        |beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, sdroege@...                                                                                           |
      | Date:      |
        |11/05/2009 09:02 AM                                                                                                                       |
      | Subject:   |
        |RE: [beemonitoring] On the use of the word "metallic" in descriptions of bees                                                             |

      Since I would have to look up terms like tessellated, imbricate and
      rugose, I prefer shiny metallic or dull metallic.

      Wedge Watkins
      Refuge Biologist
      Big Muddy NFWR
      U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
      4200 New Haven Road
      Columbia, MO 65201

      Phone: 573-441-2788
      Fax: 573-876-1839

      "Any river is the summation of the whole valley. To think of it as
      nothing but water, is to ignore the greater part" - Hal Borland

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      Personally I have never had any trouble telling "metallic" from
      "non-metallic" in general, but I have not used the keys excessively yet
      for bees. My only comment is that we should stick to a one word
      description instead of a six-seven word description, when the one word
      is clear to most users. Keys are already complicated enough.

      I will be interested in what other members of the list say on this


      Barbara J. Abraham, Ph.D.

      Associate Professor

      SEEDS Ecology Chapter Advisor

      Department of Biological Sciences

      Hampton University

      Hampton, VA 23668



      From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [
      mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sam Droege
      Sent: Thursday, November 05, 2009 6:47 AM
      To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [beemonitoring] On the use of the word "metallic" in
      descriptions of bees


      In the revisions, books, and keys relating to bees the term "metallic"
      is often used as a descriptor for the integument (skin) of bees.
      Metallic can be used to describe the whole bee: "metallic green bee" is
      a common phrase or it can be that a bee has "metallic reflections."
      Entire groups of bees are often referred to as "metallic" even though
      some have glossy integuments and are highly reflective and others are so
      dulled by microscopic lines that they reflect no light. We have also
      propagated this term in a similar loose way and it can be found
      throughout our online guides (
      http://www.discoverlife.org/20/q?search=Apoidea#Identification). We have
      had complaints from students that they are confused by the term and
      wonder when something should be considered "metallic" and "nonmetalic."
      After ignoring those comments for a long-time we have begun to wonder
      ourselves if the term is really that useful.

      Here is what Merriam-Webster says regarding its use in descriptions:

      3 : resembling metal: as a : having iridescent and reflective properties
      <metallic paint>

      In other words an adjective referring to reflectance of the surface.

      Because of the confusion and overly broad use of how metallic has been
      applied, its many connotations in the English language, the images it
      brings to our minds, and the loose way it has been deployed in
      descriptions (ours included and perhaps in particular) what we are
      thinking now is that in our online guides we will strike the term
      "metallic" from the guides and replace it with a more nuanced approach,
      separating color from reflectance.

      Proposed changes then would be:

      1. Colors will simply be referred to by their common names. For example
      the color of Augochlorella aurata would be simply "green" not "metallic
      green." While the color of Halictus confusus would be along the lines of
      "dark green often with gold-yellow overtones."

      2. For surface reflectance any number of terms will be useful from
      shiny, mirror-like, glossy but when the surface is dull and reflective,
      the cause for the dulling should be mentioned (tessellated, imbricate,
      microscopic lines, rugose, beaded etc).

      3. For the situation in which reflectance and color are more
      complicated, then usually it can be described as an "iridescence." This
      would be particularly true for situations when a species is black or
      nearly black but has multicolored, reflective overtones similar to that
      of a light film of oil on water. So a description of many of the
      abdomens of Lasioglossum (Dialictus) would include the basic color
      (black, dark brown, very dark brown with dark red highlights) and the
      presence of iridescent dark blue or green reflectance on certain
      portions of the tergites. Similarly, many members of Augochloropsis
      would be green with blue iridescent overtones.

      I am sure that others have thought through and come to similar or better
      conclusions about this in the past, but before we starting changing the
      1500 or so characters we have written for bees in these guides we
      thought we would post this for comments and suggestions.

      By the way, we are in a general process of updating and consolidating
      the wording and terms throughout the guides. Suggestions are helpful as
      well as complaints about any guide wording. Complainers are our best
      friends. We are also putting together a generically worded blank guide
      that would have a set of characters to score that could be used as a
      starting place for anyone putting together a guide to a country or
      region's bees.



      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


      Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.
      Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,
      and on the meadows let the wind go free.

      Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine;
      grant them a few more warm transparent days,
      urge them on to fulfillment then, and press
      the final sweetness into the heavy wine.

      Whoever has no house now, will never have one.
      Whoever is alone will stay alone,
      will sit, read, write long letters through the evening,
      and wander along the boulevards, up and down,
      restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.

      - Rainer Maria Rilke

      P Bees are not optional.

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