Photo of the Week – August 3, 2012

Still on the Niobrara Valley Preserve theme today, but not really strongly fire-related this time.

Leaf cutter bee (Megachile sp.) on plains sunflower (Helianthus petiolarus). The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve, Nebraska.  Click on the photo for a sharper look at it.

No, this isn’t some voracious predator waiting to ambush some hapless pollinator insect…it IS a pollinator insect.  More specifically, it’s a female leaf cutter bee.  I found her hanging out on an annual sunflower blossum in the early morning.  I’m not sure if she was warming up or resting or both?

Thanks to Mike Arduser for identifying the bee.  He guessed that it’s probably Megachile fortis – a specialist pollinator on sunflowers.

About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.
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3 Responses to Photo of the Week – August 3, 2012

  1. Michael Stephens, RMS says:

    That’s a nice photo, its kind of like you can look into her eyes and and know life is good. ms

  2. Tim Siegmund says:

    My what large mandibles you have!!

  3. I’m glad you said to click on the photo. I have a number of bees, and will watch for those mandibles to see if some of mine are like this one. I frequently see bees resting, or maybe sleeping on my plants. Oh, and I’m also glad I scrolled down to see that the green bee is a sweat bee. I saw one on my cup plant bloom the other day, and have seen them on other flowers from time to time.

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