Megachile rotundata


Photograph by Ben Rossi.

Photography contest, Honorable Mention.


Megachile rotundata – alfalfa leafcutting bee. Mr. Rossi adds, “I studied the mating behavior of these solitary bees for my PhD. This is a female sitting inside of a styrofoam nesting block, which is a styrofoam cube with many long tunnels running through it. The back of the block was resting against the glass inside of a glass tank, so I pointed my camera at one of the nesting holes from the outside of the tank.”


What is the result of this research? Its just a picture from a bee inside it. What the bee does there? Is it move inside it or it waits ans stands over there?


I was studying the cost of harassment by males on the females. One publication that resulted from the research is available here:[…]347209004746 or on my website if you want the full text.

It’s likely that the female in this photo was just hanging out in one of the available nest tunnels wondering what the heck was going on. This was from my first set of bees, and they’d just emerged as adults. I was still playing around with how to keep them in the lab, so I had them in a 20 gallon fish tank (without the water, of course). I put out some hummingbird food for them to eat (basically red-dyed sugar water). They were all buzzing around with big red globs of water stuck to their faces, and the floor of the tank was covered in little red bee footprints. It was kind of a mess, but figuring all this stuff out is one of the fun parts of scientific research!

In the wild, females spend most of their days building nests in tunnels like these. Females are “gregarious,” so they will will nest in groups near each other, though there is no direct cooperation between them like you might find in more social bees like honey bees. Males spend their days chasing anything bee-shaped that moves hoping to mate with it! The females get chased a lot depending on how many males are around, and the degree to which that interferes with her nest-building is what I studied. Males and females will both rest at times near the nests during the day. Also, both males and females spend the night in the nest tunnels.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on November 4, 2013 12:00 PM.

A Very Darwinian Halloween was the previous entry in this blog.

Working Again is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.381

Site Meter