Field guide for identifying bees in PR

Happy new year everyone! Hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday and are feeling refreshed and ready to tackle everything this new year throws your way.

There’s just over a week left before I leave Raleigh and head to Puerto Rico for another field season! I’m excited, and nervous, because this is likely to be my last field season for my degree…so I want to be sure to get as much good data as possible.

In preparation for my field season, I’ve been printing data entry sheets, maps of my sites, and now am working on a field guide for my technicians. This year, we’ll be focusing on two main objectives: 1. Determining the effects of floral diversity on bee visitation rates to coffee, and 2. Identifying the effects of coffee management practices on coffee floral traits.

For the first objective, we’ll be conducting visual observations of coffee plants for 25 minutes, taking notes of who’s visiting the flowers and for how long. This means that my techs and I have to be able to ID the bees that are visiting the coffee plants. From my experience last year, almost all were honeybees, but just in case we get a good richness of bees visiting the plants, this year, I want us all to be prepared. Soo…without further ado, I present to you my very basic guide for identifying the bees in PR. ***Please reference this website if you plant on using this guide***

small-bee-tree

Quick guide to identifying the small bees in Puerto Rico. Of course, if you catch and preserve them, they can much more accurately be identified. Some images here are modified from the USGS BIML. The small bees with hairy legs are in the genus Exomalopsis, and the ones with hairy abdomen and red butt are Megachile

medium-bee-tree

Quick guide to identifying the medium bees in Puerto Rico. Of course, if you catch and preserve them, they can much more accurately be identified. Some images here are modified from the USGS BIML.

large-bee-tree

Quick guide to identifying the larger bees in Puerto Rico. Centris lanipes is the smallest of all these bees, and Xylocopa mordax is the largest. Some of the images here are modified from the USGS BIML.

Quick guide to identifying the larger bees in Puerto Rico. Centris lanipes is the smallest of all these bees, and Xylocopa mordax is the largestSome of the images here are modified from the USGS BIML.

If you’re interested in learning more about these bees, or have suggestions for better identification terms, I’d love to hear from you. Also, remember there are more pictures in my Carribean bee id list and at the USGS BIML Flickr page.

About saraguitiprado

I'm a Tropical Ecologist, Research Coordinator, and Mother
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