A female Diadasia enavata searches for her nest entrance among the weeds. (c) 2013 MRS All Rights Reserved.
Over the next few weeks, I am excited to share a series of photos of my favorite animal. As the title of my blog might suggest, I am a fan of sunflower bees, particularly Diadasia enavata. I was shown a rare occurrence this past July: a nesting aggregation of female Diadasia. Like most bees, D. enavata make tireless, devoted, single-minded and at times ferocious mothers. I’d like to use the pictures of the nesting site to illustrate what a day in the life of these miniature beasts feels like.
Strepsipterans, or “twisted wing flies” (not really flies, I might add) are one of myriad creatures that prey on bees. The females grow between segments of the abdomen in a way that looks quite painful.
A “twisted” female living between the abdominal segments of a hapless wasp (drawing by H T Fernald (1921) in Applied Entomology). I really enjoyed this account that the CSIRO blog gives of Strepsiteran reproduction. I hope you do, too.
By Kim Pullen – Australian National Insect Collection
Insects hide their enormous diversity well. We may hear that several thousand species live in and around our town or city, but where are they all?
They are in every patch of garden or vegetation. They are on nearly every bird or mammal that walks, runs or flies around us (think lice and ticks for example).
We don’t see a lot of them because most are small, some minute, and live hidden from our view. And if they are a rare species as well, then even entomologists (scientists that study insects) don’t get to see them much. The twisted-wing fly, which is actually not really a fly at all, is one such insect.
Strepsiptera is the taxonomic group these enigmatic creatures belong to, so we can also call them strepsipterans. That name is from the Greek, streptos meaning twisted, and pteron meaning…
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