Orchid Bee Collecting Fragrances. This green orchid bee is known to have this peculiar habit of collecting fragrances to attract females.
The orchid bees are all members of the family Apidae, and the tribe Euglossini. They are the size of a honey bee but are brightly colored with a metallic sheen. They have a long tongue, (proboscis)
The above green orchid bee visited me every day, sat on the arm chair.
This orchid bee seemed to be licking or disposing of some fluid that ran down his tongue. (proboscis)
Orchid flowers produce scents that attract certain bees that are big enough for pollination. (those that have long tongues as well) The orchid flower will go as far as producing a flower that mimics a female orchard bee for attraction. Orchids will then affix a pollinarium(a pollen ball) to the bee. Which is carried to another orchid of the same species for pollination.
Being a male bee this would be stuck anywhere on the body. As Female Orchid Bee will have less of enlarged tibiae and hairs will collect pollen in her pollen baskets.
Their area known.
Orchard bees are native to areas from Mexico to southern america. This one was found near southern Ecuador, South America. Near Vilcabamba, Loja.
Description of the Orchid Bee.
A male Euglossa dilemma, has its green metallic coloring and long tongue. Brush like front tarsi, and enlarged hind tibiae. Note the photo below that shows the large tibiae. They have holes in the outer tibiae to provide the storage of the fragrant scents or compounds collected from the environment. Which is stored in a sponge like material inside of the tibiae.
The green orchid bee is very charismatic and is not shy to hover in front of you for a few seconds. This one actually sat on my finger. After some information was sort, it was presumed that he was interested in the essential oils that was obviously on my hands. The mix that was used had cinnamon essential oils in. They do get attracted to some oils and smells, including bad ones.
This orchid bee was obtaining fragrances by putting out his tongue and then lifting up the body and placing it in the hind tibiae. Left a wet mark on the chair and did this for a while.
The orchid bee is a solitary bee but is related to social bees in the family. May show some social instinct by nesting in communal places. view its habits and life cycle here.
common name: green orchid bee
scientific name: Euglossa dilemma Friese (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Apidae)
Another post about the green orchid bee.