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Ammobates muticus, u, italy, back

Detailed Description

Ammobates muticus, Mediterranean Bee Stalker, specimen collected by E.L. Merim in Palermo, ItalyAnother red-abdomened cuckoo bee; why is it that so many cuckoo bees are more brightly colored than their hosts? While we are not sure of the reason, it seems possible that it more important for cuckoo bees to warn off potential predators that might learn to associate their brighter colors with receiving a painful sting. Cuckoo bees spend all day flying around, often close to the ground, looking for host nests, while the hosts will be outside their nests only for short periods while foraging. This exposes the cuckoo bees to greater risk of predation and this might mean that brighter colors are more advantageous for them,While there might be an abundance of described species in the Bee Stalker genus (50 are on the books at the moment) there is little known about them and we could find nothing about the particular species shown here other than the localities where it has been collected and representatives of the species stored in museums. Despite the relatively large number of described species the group is surprisingly limited in its overall geographic range, essentially just southern Europe to Central Asia with one species near the southern tip of Africa. From the few species whose habits are known or suspected, we know that Bee Stalkers try to invade nests of bees in the speciose groups of Long-horned and "flower-loving", Anthophorini bees. 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.


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