Cuttyhunk is a pretty good place to be an insect. There’s lots of habitat, not much poison-spraying, and not much pollution.
Even downtown Cuttyhunk is a pretty good place for a bug.
There are lots of flowers, too, and this pink bellflower caught my eye.
Then a bee caught my eye.
Wait! That’s no honeybee!
The hair is different…
And what’s with those eyes?
And what beautiful teeth you have!
From the look of those powerful jaws, I suspected it might be a leaf-cutter bee.
I posted the photos on facebook. Matt Pelikan, a local naturalist, soon commented, “I believe that’s a leaf-cutter bee, something along the lines of Megachile latimanus. Nice find.”
I consulted another friend, Dr. Paul Goldstein, lepidopterist and apiphile, who wrote me, “I don’t recall the species offhand but I forwarded it to John Ascher and will have an answer soon.”
Paul’s response was soon followed by, “It’s latimanus (Megachile latimanus – I forgot to confirm and congratulate you on your good eye at spotting a leafcutter bee). John’s field marks are the front legs and orange fur unique among Megachile around here. He also complimented you on your photos…”
Well, finding this critter was just dumb luck, if you ask me.
I looked at some interesting flower a little more closely than I might have, and the bee was there.
And it was calm enough to let me take this series of photos.
Thanks, good friends, for knowing what this creature is.
And thanks, too for good old Lady Dumb Luck.