Exoneura species, f, australia, face

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Detailed Description

Exoneura species, Two-tone Reed Bee, specimen collected in AustraliaLong: Reed Bees are found only on the continent of Australia and it is likely that most of the 41 species nest in the pithy centers of plant stems, similar to the Small Carpenter Bees (Ceratina). These bees have a unique method of childcare: rather than constructing individual cells for their young, they dispense with internal walls and make a crèche. They excavate the pith in the stem, add pollen and nectar, and then lay eggs over time. Thus, within a nest there can be bee juveniles at all stages of development, from egg to adult sometimes several adults. These groups of females can all be reproductive but often just the dominant female produces eggs. This dominant female can produce pheromones that keep the ovaries of subdominant females from developing. The home life of these bees is complex but flexible such that working positions within the colony and reproduction can change with the seasons and availability of pollen and nectar. Perhaps because all the larvae are together within the nest burrow rather than in their own individual little rooms, their morphology is more complex and variable than is the case for larvae of other bees. Most bee larvae are simple grubs lacking legs and mostly bald. Reed bee infants often have fleshy lobes and interesting hair patterns on their bodies, some even looking as if they have a Beatle 's moptop cut. 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.


Image Dimensions: 3156 x 2989

Date Taken: