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It’s a What?

Posted by on March 7, 2010

On March 3rd the sun shone, the weather began to change and the snow thawed. Walking along a trail I’ve named “Lower Turtle Trail,” my curiosity got the better of me. Wonder if I can find a snake under any of the many logs along the way. Slowly, I turned over a log, rolling it toward me so nothing that could bite could get to me. No snake. But glistening in the sunlight were some bright metallic green flies – or so I thought at the time. But back at the house, browsing the books, it just didn’t fit. At first I thought it might be a green bottle fly.  But the eyes weren’t the right color and the wings were held differently. Then looking some more, thought perhaps a Condylostylid long-legged fly. Humm, the legs weren’t right, not skinny and black; plus the wings didn’t have the right pattern. Now what. Started thinking about those legs. So took a look at another photo of that insect.

Yes, indeedy, look at those really hairy legs, very much like a bee. I already knew not all bees are yellow and black.

And there it was in the book: Augochlora Green Metallic Bees. It fit. Not only the description and the photo, but the description of where it can be found. It seems that the female bee tunnels into dead wood, such as that under the log, to make cells. Into each cell she puts a ball of pollen and nectar. With that done, she lays an egg on top. When the egg hatches, the larvae has plenty of food. Good thing too, for it is obvious that these larvae and pupae (where they change into the final adult) are developing during a time of really cold weather.

So this one and the others I saw under the log, are just about ready to go.  Where are they going to find pollen and nectar? I wonder, what is flowering now? Nothing obvious, then I thought about the Trout lily, yellow star grass  and other small cold weather plants. One thing leads to another. So now guess what I’m looking for.

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