Staff Pollinator Pick #1: Euglossa dilemma
Everybody probably has a favorite insect. We thought it would be fun to ask our pollinator staff to suggest their favorite pollinator. With so many pollinators to choose from, it gives a glimpse into the diversity that’s out there waiting to be watched and enjoyed. We’ll be posting one staff pick every other day. We hope you enjoy them.
Green orchid bee (Euglossa dilemma)
There are a lot of reasons to love Euglossa dilemma, one of a few bees that goes by the common name “green orchid bee.” First, they are tenacious. The green orchid bee has established a population in south Florida, outside the range of the orchids from which it takes its name. Second, the males have an elaborate toilette. Male green orchid bees spruce themselves up by collecting and storing perfume from orchids in special compartments on their hind legs. They take these aromatic compounds and craft a unique fragrance to be used in courtship. Upon encountering a female bee, they dance and fan her with their scent. Males win the right to mate if the female likes their composition. Eucalyptus and vanilla are popular fragrance notes. As they collect these volatile compounds, they also collect and spread orchid pollinia. A study in the Chiapas region of Mexico estimated that orchid bees pollinate 10% of all orchid species. These bees are bright emerald green, well groomed, and fragrant. What’s not to like?
Photos by Bob Peterson, Flickr.com