Bee or Wasp?

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Ultima_Gaina
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Bee or Wasp?

Post by Ultima_Gaina »

Image

Ultima_Gaina
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Post by Ultima_Gaina »

Different angle.

Image

The question remains.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

It's very hairy and the mouthparts appear specialized for nectar, both typical of bees. I don't recognize this particular species.

--Rik

Troels
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Post by Troels »

I tend to agree with Rik.
But take look at the wings of your specimen.
If they are folded along their length axis when resting it is a wasp.

Bees can't fold their wings.
It is not possible to see clearly on your pictures.
Troels Holm, biologist (retired), environmentalist, amateur photographer.
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Ultima_Gaina
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Post by Ultima_Gaina »

Troels wrote:I tend to agree with Rik.
But take look at the wings of your specimen.
If they are folded along their length axis when resting it is a wasp.

Bees can't fold their wings.
It is not possible to see clearly on your pictures.
The specimen is preserved with the wings upwards (as partially seen on the second photo). I'm not sure I can test if they can be folded.

On the other hand, I read that bees are "fat" and hairy, while wasps have a slim waist and little or no hair.

This one has a lot of hair AND a slim waist.
The pattern on the back of the abdomen is made of simple straight yellow and black lines with no other elements.
I found them in a forest, hovering above a patch of nettle.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Images of the whole body would be helpful for ID. Dorsal and lateral should be enough.
Troels wrote:If they are folded along their length axis when resting it is a wasp.
This info is new to me. Thanks!

--Rik

Ultima_Gaina
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Post by Ultima_Gaina »

rjlittlefield wrote:Images of the whole body would be helpful for ID. Dorsal and lateral should be enough.
Troels wrote:If they are folded along their length axis when resting it is a wasp.
This info is new to me. Thanks!

--Rik
Here is quick and dirty dorsal Pmax:
Image

The thorax is very hairy indeed, but isn't that waist too tiny for a bee?

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

I'm not bothered by that waist. Compare for example with http://bugguide.net/node/view/443476 .

But I still don't recognize this particular beast. Hopefully somebody else will chime in who does.

--Rik

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Post by rjlittlefield »

Unfortunately the technical keys for insect ID often rely on obscure features that are highly reliable when interpreted by experts, but not nearly so good when interpreted by other people.

However, in the case of bees versus wasps, my copy of "How to Know the Insects", by Roger G. Bland, H. E. Jaques, contains three relatively simple characters. Quoting from couplet 25 on page 367,
for wasps: First segments of hind tarsi slender, cylindrical and not flattened, usually shorter than other tarsal segments combined; body hairs unbranched; abdomen often stalked at base

for bees: First segments of hind tarsi usually as long as or longer than other tarsal segments combined, generally broadened, flattened or thickened; some thoracic hairs branched (Fig.347A); abdomen not stalked
The abdomen shape shown in your pictures is not stalked, in my judgement, but in that case "often" versus "not" is still ambiguous.

The hind tarsi are not shown, but I assume you have access to those. Might be worth checking.

The best character may be the bit about "thoracic hairs branched". The book's Fig.347A depicts a hair with little barbs coming off it, sort of a crude sketch of the structure photographed by Charles Krebs at http://www.krebsmicro.com/forumpix/hbee39small.jpg .

I suggest checking the full-resolution version of your images, especially the first one showing the face. Even in the web-resolution version, I think I see barbs on those thoracic hairs. If they show clearly in the full-res versions, then I think that would nail it down.

--Rik

MarkSturtevant
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Post by MarkSturtevant »

I cannot make out if the hairs are branched or not, and I also would need to see the basal tarsal segment on the hind legs.
Just throwing it out there, but there are small kleptoparasitic bees called cuckoo bees that look like this insect: http://bugguide.net/node/view/389377
Mark Sturtevant
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Ultima_Gaina
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Post by Ultima_Gaina »

MarkSturtevant wrote:I cannot make out if the hairs are branched or not, and I also would need to see the basal tarsal segment on the hind legs.
Just throwing it out there, but there are small kleptoparasitic bees called cuckoo bees that look like this insect: http://bugguide.net/node/view/389377
I believe this is the one I have here, indeed. Good find! Thanks Mark!

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Post by NikonUser »

What really bugs me is that people ask for an ID, or even just a Family, and we, the audience, have no idea where the image was taken.

No, I don't need a street address or even a city; BUT I do need a zoogeographic region - strangely enough a bee, or any other insect, from the southern hemisphere may look quite different from one from the northern.
NU.
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” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
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The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

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Ultima_Gaina
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Post by Ultima_Gaina »

It makes sense. I will remember that.
This specimen is from New Jersey.

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