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Tiny wasp...

 
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 7076
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:05 pm    Post subject: Tiny wasp... Reply with quote

or maybe a "yeller jacket" of some kind, I don't know but I would just bet it would sting you if you messed with it. Laughing For scale, those blooms are about 8 to 10 mm in length. The first image I made as a verticle, if you were to roll it over on its left side, it would be in the correct position. Very Happy






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Image data, all images Very Happy
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jmlphoto



Joined: 10 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

first one is best good shots
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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting find there, Ken and so well photographed that I reckon I can give you some information.

(Note that being not familiar with the North American fauna I am as always inclined to formulate cautiously. But in many cases there seem to be quite a lot of similarities on the genus level between your fauna and what I am more familiar with. And if I wasn´t, say 98% sure, I´d keep my mouth shut ...err... my fingers still Very Happy)

To me it looks not like what is commonly known as "wasp" or "yeller jacket". Actually in phylogenetic systematics and taxonomy there is no valid taxon that comprises all "wasps" but is excluding the bees as the bees being an offshoot of sphecoid wasps, and hence bees are sometimes called 'flower wasps' for a good reason.

Well anyway, most probably what you photographed here is a solitary bee of the parasitic and hence called "cuckoo" bee genus Nomada. Cuckoo bees because the females use other solitary bee species as their hosts, i. e. they don´t collect pollen and nectar for provisioning their own offspring but seek for the hosts´ nests and lay their own eggs in.

And I´d advise you not to bet too much on that "it would sting you, if you messed with it" Wink Very Happy since from what I see it looks like a male and thus lacking the device, i. e. the sting, to do you any harm with. And even a female would very likely only try to sting you, if you were very naughty with her, e. g. sqeeze her between your fingers.

--Betty

edit: typos and added "that comprises all ... but is" for better clearness.


Last edited by Planapo on Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
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Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So if I understand this right, this bee will find another species closely resembling itself and then lay eggs in their nest, maybe even killing the other larvae already in place in that nest. A wolf in sheeps clothing it is? Think

Thanks Betty Very Happy
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Betty, once again I am fascinated by the apparent ease and power with which a subject-matter expert can analyze a good grab shot. I would have gone with "yeller jacket" for sure, and wasted my time looking around in Vespula -- wrong family!

Can I ask you to think for a moment about the process that you used to identify this beast? As far as you are aware, what features thrust themselves upon your attention, what possibilities did you consider, and what other features did you specifically go looking for, to support or reject each possibility?

BTW, I want to thank you again for your contributions to this forum. Whenever I see your name on a post, my eyes light up in anticipation of what I'm going to learn this time! The mix of splendid photography and subject matter expertise is what makes this forum such a fun place to hang out.

Ken, it occurs to me that the term "grab shot" may sound dismissive, but I don't intend it that way. I just don't know any better way short way to say that the pictures were taken in an uncontrolled situation and without specific intent or knowledge of what might be required to enable an ID. They are very attractive and well photographed from a technical standpoint. Thanks also for the complete and concise dump of technical info -- very helpful. Very Happy

--Rik
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lauriek
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Joined: 25 Nov 2007
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Location: South East UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The mottled eyes jumped out at me as not being a social wasp, but I'll be interested to hear what Betty has to say!!
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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ken - here like with the cuckoo bird, parasite and host look quite different and the parasitic bee "sneaks" into the host´s nest/burrow while the latter is away, e. g. foraging. Andrena species are often hosts of Nomada. One can be seen here. Very Happy

Rik - I´m flattered Embarassed Wink , but too much kudos given here. However, I´m happy to share some of my humble knowledge with the nice people aboard, where I myself have learned a lot about photography from the rich knowledge of others.

It´s about a little experience and having seen them in the field before. Think of your special knowledge of Lepidoptera.
This Nomada is quite a characteristic one, I´d say. And when seeing Ken´s picture I immediately thought of Nomada.
Then I thought what could it be else? There are more brownish species of Nomada that don´t have this "yeller-jacket"-appearance, where I would want to see other features, e. g. the wing venation because they could be confused with other bee genera. Occasionally, Nomada over here are confused with some crabronid wasps sometimes but the first segment of the tarsus of the hind leg looks broadened, in crabronids/sphecids it should be cylindrical. One can´t see whether the wings are folded here, but in vespoids the shape of the eye would be different.
However, as I am no expert on bees and other wasps and don´t know of what there might fly around in the Carolinas that I have never seen before and that, with hopefully a very small chance, might so unbelievably closely resemble my perception of gestalt or "image" of a charcteristic Nomada, I left the 2% Smile
Then I think I can see a 13-segmented antenna, indicating a male. Btw, a male of a social wasp in spring in a temperate region would be unlikely.

Yes Laurie, you´re right about the mottled eye that some of these bees often have and that is quite striking, but I can´t remember having read about it as a discriminatory feature. BTW, I have difficulties to discriminate whether Laurie is male or female. And I thought Jody Melanson being female until Doug spoke of "him" and "his". Confused Laughing

Oh dear, so much "cat map knowledge" in my brain ("cat map" sensu Feynman, I know you like him too, Rik Very Happy ). I now better go and do some statistics, math or other thinking. But then... I like the aesthetics of what has evolved in these tiny bodies and their often marvelously complex ways of live, overwhelming beauty in biodiversity, hence I will always be fond of looking at them and want to get to know more about them, thus more "cat-map knowledge" will inevitably accumulate... I can´t help it... Sorry, I was blogging. Good night!

--Betty
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lauriek
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure it is a valid discriminatory feature, just that I've seen very similar patterns on some which I identified from field guides as solitary bees, probably of the same genus...

I'm a chap btw! I know Laurie is more commonly a ladies name in the US but here in the UK it's more often the other way! Wink
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
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Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, this sure turned out interesting. Everything from cat-map knowledge to monikers. Laughing
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beetleman



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
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Location: Southern New Hampshire USA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really great images Ken...and a great conversation starter. Got some good knowledge from this post Wink
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
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Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doug replied:

Quote:
Got some good knowledge from this post


Me too! Thanks Doug Very Happy
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