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.

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is an ecologist and Eastern Nebraska Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. He supervises the management and restoration of approximately 4,000 acres of land in central and eastern Nebraska - primarily along the central Platte River. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press.
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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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