aglaoapis tridentata, f, back
Aglaoapis tridentata, Spined Goth, specimen collected by Heinrich Friese in AustriaThere are but three species of Goths, oddly scattered across the northern Old World with the Spined Goth occurring across the temperate regions, one in India, and one way down in South Africa. Perhaps their empire was once larger and intermediate populations and species have disappeared. This is another cleptoparasite, it has lost all its pollen collecting hairs and has become an invader of other species nests. The Spined Goth is known to take over the nesting cells of bees in the Hoplitis and Megachile groups and appears to be not very choosy about its hosts other than perhaps sticking with bees in its same family (Megachilidae). One last odd thing about this bee is that it is one of a small number of bee species that has completely lost its sting. One would think that a species that invades another species nest would want such a weapon, but in this case some other cleverness must allow it to lay its eggs without conflict. Photography Information: Canon Mark II 5D, Zerene Stacker, Stackshot Sled, 65mm Canon MP-E 1-5X macro lens, Twin Macro Flash in Styrofoam Cooler, F5.0, ISO 100, Shutter Speed 200. USGSBIML Photoshopping Technique: Note that we now have added using the burn tool at 50% opacity set to shadows to clean up the halos that bleed into the black background from "hot" color sections of the picture.