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bee15274, f, turkey, side

Detailed Description

Ancyla asiatica, Asiatic Enigma Bee collected in Turkey Nine species of Enigma Bees occur from the Western portion of the Mediterranean to Central Asia. They are called Enigma bees because it has been so difficult to decide which other bees they are closely related to. The reason for this confusion lies in their tongues. Bees are classified into long- and short-tongued varieties. Frustratingly, this distinction does not always refer to the length of the tongue but to the details of the structure of the mouthparts. Short-tongued bees have a small segmented structure that lies alongside the actual tongue, long-tongued bees have this structure much elongated seemingly sheathing the real tongue. The actual tongue in long-tongued bees has a stiff rod running along its length, presumably to strengthen it. Short-tongued bees lack this reinforcement. The problem with Enigma bees is that they are related to long-tongued bees but have lost the long-tongue characteristics "“ no sheath, no rod. The reason they have reverted to an earlier version of bee mouthparts? They visit tiny, open flowers of the parsley family, which need no deep probing.Enigma bees are rare in collections. Only within the last 2 years have the ground nests of two of the species been described, so there is much to be discovered within this group. Unlike the female pictured here the males of this group have prominent white markings on their faces. 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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