This will translate this blog to speech.

A blog that will gradually post the results of a study of the bees found by refuge biologists and volunteers using bee bowls traps on USFWS Region 5 National Wildlife Refuges in the Northeastern United States.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rappahhannock River Valley NWR

This is a summary of bee data from 5 fields on the Rappahannock River Valley NWR collected on August 13th and 14th 2008. Each field was sampled with 5 fluorescent yellow, 5 fluorescent blue, and 5 white 3.25 ounce bowl traps.

A complete table of the data is available from Leo Shapiro (lshapiro@umd.edu), Sam Droege (sdroege@usgs.gov), or the refuge biologist.

Below is a table of the site numbers and the brief site description.

Description Site
Wilna Unit 1 5607
Wilna Unit 2 5608
Wilna Unit B 5609
Wilna Unit 4 5610
Wilna Unit 7 5611

Below is a table of the results by site:

5607 5608 5609 5610 5611 Grand Total
Agapostemon virescens 5 1 2 1 5 14
Augochlora pura

1 1
Augochlorella aurata


Bombus griseocollis

1 1
Halictus ligatus/poeyi 1 1 1

Hylaeus affinis/modestus


Lasioglossum bruneri

1 1
Lasioglossum coreopsis


Lasioglossum creberrimum

Lasioglossum versatumsensumitchell 1

Melissodes bimaculata

1 1
Melissodes comptoides 1
3 4 31 39
Melisssodes denticulata

1 1
Ptilothrix bombiformis

1 1
Svastra atripes


Triepeolus lunatus

Grand Total 8 3 14 6 42 73

Another interesting set of fields. Note all the Eucerine species (Melissodes and Svastra), which are usually good indicators of high quality habitat with plenty of large composites available in the landscape (especially true for Svastra). Also note that one of their relatively uncommon nest parasites was also caught (Triepeolus lunatus).

Two additional species worth noting, Lasioglossum creberrimum and Ptilothrix bombiformis, are both good indicators that wetlands are in the area. Lasioglossum creberrimum is usually associated with low wet coastal areas (ding!) and P. bombiformis is usually associated with Hibiscus plants, which I imagine must line the tidal wetlands nearby. Interestingly, you can also get P. bombiformis in the city, where they hang out on streetcorners sipping sweet drinks from other mallow plants such as Rose of Sharon.

Lasioglossum versatum sensu Mitchell is a species that likes southern coastal plain habitats. Its odd name comes from the fact that its taxonomic identity is being challenged and recent (but unpublished findings) indicate that this thing matches what Mitchell described as L. versatum but in actuality does not match the type specimen of L. versatum. The taxonomists will work it out in the near future and a new name will be given.

With respect to patterns among fields, there is a lot of conformity among these neighboring fields as far as species types and numbers go. No field appears much different from the others except that Field 5611 has pumped up numbers of M. comptoides for some unknowable reason. All and all I think this refuge is a keeper.

We are in luck in that Sandy has provided some pictures of these fields. They are posted below...

Sam Droege and Leo Shapiro

Listen to six mockingbirds
Flinging follies of O-be-joyful
Over the marshes and uplands.
- Carl Sandburg: Prairie

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With Natural History there is no need to go to the moon or Madagascar; there is more to find in your woodlot than in our entire solar system.