posted in: Bees, Invertebrates, My garden, Worcestershire | 0

I don’t think he was exactly asleep, because the antennae usually droop in those circumstances, but this Orange-vented Mason Bee was definitely having a few minutes of down time in my front garden this morning. He remained apparently oblivious while I pottered around him, looking for angles, and if it hadn’t been for the breeze wafting the nipplewort around and spoiling most of my attempts at focus it would have been a pleasant interlude for me as well. I did consider holding the plant still with one hand and shooting with the other, but decided that this might be an intrusion too far into his personal space.

Osmia leaiana is an unusual little bee, whose head looks too big and solid for its body. The 1cm long females have their pollen brush underneath the abdomen and resemble Megachiles, and as they fly at the same time and collect from the same flowers, I’m inclined to confuse them if I don’t check the size and shape of their heads quite carefully. Males are smaller, at around 6mm in length, and in flat light like this they’re pretty distinctive. Males of Osmia caerulescens also have ginger pile when they’re fresh, but they’re even smaller than O. leaiana, and crucially, they have green eyes with black spots – I included a photo of one as my extra image in this post, if you’d like to see the difference.

R: C2, D3.

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