European Honey Bee
Chequered Cuckoo Bee
|Class:||Animals (Animalia) - Jointed Legs (Arthropoda) - Insects (Insecta)|
|Order:||Ant Bee Wasps (Hymenoptera)|
|Family:||Long-tongued Bee (Bee: Apidae)|
|Species:||Chequered Cuckoo Bee (Thyreus caeruleopunctatus)|
General Species Information:
Found on Ellura (in the Murray Mallee, SA), in the Adelaide Hills and elsewhere
A fairly large bee at around 12mm long, but also very heavy set & strong. Due to it's behaviour, it has no physical ability to collect pollen for it's young (ie doesn't have a scopa).
Of course the first thing that hits the eye are those bright blue spots contrasted against the black body. It's very obvious to the naked eye. But on closer inspection we were struck by the complex wing shape.
You can see the scalloped shield shape trailing it's back (the scutellum). Because these behave similarly to Cuckoo birds (ie use other's nests) they have a heavy duty back/shield plate to protect them from attack by their hosts; ie when in the host's nest (blue banded bees) the host will attack it to protect it's egg.
When it flew off it was not very happy. Hovering in front of my face, it decided to leave me alone and whizzed past my shoulder. You'd think it would have enjoyed the air-conditioned comfort of our fridge