Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Neon cuckoo bees

I spent some time today wandering along the trail from Panguna Estate in Trinity Beach to James Cook University along the ridge. At one point I started to try to photograph a blue banded bee, but was unsuccessful. Another bee then appeared, only this one was bright blue. Alas, I missed the shot again, and kept walking. Fortunately I found more shortly afterwards, and these were chompin enthusiastically on the ends of sticks so photography was easy. Here's the third one I found:

Neon cuckoo bee (Thyreus nitidulus)
Here's the same bee getting a bit more into the chomping:

Neon cukoo bee (T. nitidulus)

 So, how frenzied can this bee's attack on a stick be? Here's one I had found a little earlier:

This neon cuckoo bee (T. nitidulus) is not in flight.
This bee had started in a similar position to those above, but worked around the twig and seemed to be using its mandibles and front legs to move. It flew off shortly thereafter.

At first I asssumed the bees were collecting wood pulp for lining a nest, but upon returning home and identifiying them I found they are in fact brood parasites, laying their eggs in the nests of blue banded bees (of which I need to get a good photo). They don't build burrows themselves.

Looking at other people's photos of this species, this biting the end of twigs behaviour seems common (although not to the extent of the third photo). Is it pretending to be a flower and waiting for a blue banded bee to come by so it can follow it back to its burrow? I have no idea.

No comments :

Post a Comment