“The Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English carol that was probably borrowed from the French and that was originally an acapella chant/call-and-response/children’s memory game. It first appeared in writing in 1780, and there were (and still are) many variations of it, though the words were more-or-less standardized when an official melody was finally written for it in 1909.
Dandelions produce both nectar and pollen and so are appreciated by wildlife, especially early bees and butterflies (100 species of pollinators have been tallied). The BugLady has been dawdling among dandelions to see who else appreciates them. She saw representatives of 8 kinds of hymenopterans (ants/bees/wasps), 4 kinds of flies, 3 of arachnids (spiders and spider relatives), and 1 beetle. Seen, but not photographed, were a few cabbage butterflies.
The fourth Annual chorus of “The Twelve Bugs of Christmas,” the BugLady offers a Bakers’ Dozen of Bug Portraits that were taken this year but are unlikely to appear in future BOTWs because their stories have been told in past BOTWs (hence, the links, for BugFans who want to know “The Rest of the Story”).
The BugLady would like to dedicate this episode to the late (great) Cornell Professor Richard B. Fischer (January 19, 1919 – August 7, 2005) who taught the BugLady how to sneak up on insects (no bobbing or weaving, just slow and steady and straight ahead.
The Spotted Nomad Bee belongs to an overlapping continuum of species named the Nomada ruficornis species group. The Nomada (nomad/roaming bees), one of the largest genera in the Nomadinae subfamily, are a confusing bunch taxonomically. There are about 300 species in North America and 700 species worldwide.
As a group, Bumblebees are northern bees, tough enough to survive north of the Arctic Circle. They can thermoregulate;—producing heat by “shivering” their flight muscles without beating their wings, and retaining it via their thick, insulating hairs. They need an internal temperature of 86 degrees before they can fly.
The BugLady has been out with her camera, walking non-aerobically and peering into plants. The “peering” has resulted in some interesting (if blurred) sightings (her macro lens is getting a bit cranky). Amazing things have been happening on milkweed, probably spurred by a banner crop of aphids on the leaves.
Sphecodes bees are parasitic solitary bees in the large, but mostly-not-parasitic. Sphecodes bees are sometimes called cuckoo bees. Cuckoo bees are kleptoparasites (which may also be spelled with a “c”). Like their avian namesakes, they deposit their eggs in someone else’s nest—in the case of CBs, in the nests of fellow-Halictids.
In lieu of the usual bug biography, the BugLady presents The Twelve Bugs of Christmas—a tribute to a dozen insects (a Baker’s Dozen, really) that were photographed this year but not featured in a BOTW. Let the singing commence.
The BugLady takes lots of pictures as she moseys around—flowers, landscapes, a surprising number of people, and, of course, all manner of bugs. Bug pictures may stall in the BugLady’s X–Files, awaiting identification—some for a long time. Here is a selection from the X–Files. In some cases the BugLady knows part of the story; in others, even less.