Answer to the Monday Night Mystery

Who was that furry little insect?

Kudos to all of you who guessed Nomada, the cuckoo bee.

I’ll award points as follows: 5 (half-credit) to Grim, who guessed first but later recanted. 5 points to Gordon Snelling, who was next in line. And 5 more to JasonC, who provided detailed supporting characters for his identification.

Nomada is a fascinating bee. Rather than build a nest, it lays its eggs in the nests of other species. Thus, Nomada is a sort of apid analogue to parasitic cuckoo birds.

5 thoughts on “Answer to the Monday Night Mystery”

  1. My goodness, I never would have guessed. Although that lifestyle rings a bell or two, and I have to remember that there’s always room in nature for cheaters!

  2. I think it’s cool that Nomada (assuming it is in fact monophyletic) blatantly defies Emery’s “rule” by parasitizing bees in at least three different, widely separated lineages. I’ve never understood all the excitement about the supposed rule that hymenopteran social parasites (especially ants) parasitize rather close relatives, nor am aI particularly impressed with attempts to rectify all discoveries of parasitism with it.

    This further reminds me of the stretched attempts to make all regional ant faunas fit into Andersen’s (Australian) ant functional groups, another paradigm worthy of discussion.

    1. LOL — Chalk it up to Human penchant for pattern-recognition & matching.

      The rule falls apart rather badly for non-social beasties and there is a rather limited pool of social species.

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