A reminder – we will have our Platte River Prairies Field Day tomorrow, August 27, from 9am to 3:30. Details can be found here.
Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow, but it looks like the best chances for precipitation are before and after the Field Day. Either way, we’ll be there and will have plenty of things to see, do, and discuss, so please plan to attend. (However, in addition to your lunch, you might throw in a rain jacket and/or umbrella just in case.)
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s something completely unrelated:
As I was walking across my yard on the way home from work last night, I saw the following happening RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF MY SIDEWALK.
Three things. First, this is a good way to see the sexual dimorphism of bumblebees. (Don’t get excited – it just means that males and females are different sizes.) Second, the stinger on the female looks like it’s in an awkward place. Finally, the process of making new bumblebees apparently takes a while and the full attention of both parties. I had time to go back to the truck, grab my camera gear, set up a couple flashes, and take quite a few photos. After I got my photos, I put my gear away and walked by again and they were still going.
During the whole photography process, the bees completely ignored me, my gear, and the repeated firing of two flash units. It seems like the bees would be pretty easy quarry for predators at times like this. Maybe, instead of doing it in the middle of a sidewalk, it’d be a good idea to retreat to somewhere more sheltered? (Get a room!)
Ok, everyone move along now. Nothing more to see here.
Interesting, Chris, as I just saw exactly the same thing for the first time on Madeline Island in Lake Superior! They didn’t care about my dog sniffing around, either. She was huge. Christie
I did not say camera sutra.
Have a great field day! Wish I could be there.
About the “awkward place”. The stinger is intimately connected to the genital apparatus of the insects (aculeate Hymenoptera) that have them, since it evolved from the ovipositor of their ancestors. In those insects and other, extant, non-aculeate Hymenoptera, eggs are still laid through the ovipositor (and venom or other host-mind-or-physiology-altering substances may also be injected), but aculeates now lay eggs through the base, rather than the tip of the ovipositor. B.t.w., if you are so inclined, this bee image is well worthy of a bugguide, Facebook Hymenopterists, or other bee website posting.
The Sun didn’t shine, but the presentations did. Thanks for hosting a lovely day, Chris! I enjoyed the hike with you and the other sessions, too.
Thanks Tracy – the rain held off just perfectly, and I was also very pleased with the day.