Monday, 26 February 2007

Stalking the leaf cutter

Catching a gold-tipped leaf cutter bee (Megachile chrysopyga) was one thing but getting it from the bag into a jar was quite a different matter. It seemed to be on a sugar high. I couldn't wait for it to settle from hyperactive to merely active—that might have taken days—so I used a little encouragement. After manoeuvring the bee into a container, I cooled it down in the refrigerator for a few minutes. It remained still long enough for a couple of photographs but zipped off as soon as it could.

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to slip the little buzzer onto a sheet of white paper for its portrait so it's not as clear as it could be. You can see the pale bands that sometimes have a blue tinge, leading to frequent confusion with the blue-banded bee, and the four spots across the thorax. The orange topknot and ... er ... nethers distinguish this species from both the blue-banded Amegilla and other Megachile.

I'm sure you've seen the pictures of leaf cutters (and blue-banded bees) taken by Western Australian blogger Amegilla but just in case you haven't here's her contribution to this blog.

(And while you're at it, here's some more bees from Amegilla's own temporarily quiescent blog: a dozing halictid and miniature resin bees.)


amegilla said...

Great stuff!
(looks a bit chilly but)

I didn't know abou the feet, thanks for that.

Snail said...

Here's a later blog post with pics of the feet. This one didn't get off as lightly ...