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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Unexpected - A Flash Of Virescent Color

For nearly three years I have been on a quest to photograph the virescent green metallic bee. They are not particularly uncommon, but they are small and quick - and despite my unusual attention to the small denizens of the insect world, I have only caught glimpses of them.

I had hoped to catch a photo of the tiny creature with my high-speed camera system - which requires considerable planning and time. Good fortune smiled upon me, however, in the middle of an assignment to photograph honey bees.

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So I had all of the complex equipment that I use to take high-speed images set-up and ready to go when I spied the magnificent emerald flash of a green metallic bee among a field of flowers buzzing with insects.

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I continue to find it remarkable how life on such a small scale can be so vibrant and intense.

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This bee also reminds me of an even smaller insect that I photographed last year - the cuckoo wasp. This little insect has an intensely green exoskeleton that is also extremely thick and tough. It must be durable because part of its life cycle requires it to sneak into the heart of a bee hive and hijack a larval cell for its own use. If it is discovered, it will need a thick hide to survive the attacking bees.

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Hannah Velten said...

Your 3 year (!) wait has not been in vain - superb portraits. I never realsied that bees could be so colourful.

Barbara said...

Michael, your photos are fantastic! I wonder if you are aware of the start of the Encyclopedia of Life website at The prominent naturalist E.O. Wilson started it to draw together on the internet all that is known about each species of life on planet Earth. I'm sure your photographs would enhance this project. Good luck!

Bpaul said...

Can't believe I missed this one for so long. Excellent excellent shots. Thanks for posting them.

Dan said...

Outstanding photos. I discovered a colony of these bees in my lawn while I was mowing this summer. I staked it off with bamboo stakes so they wouldn't be disturbed. I had to assure the neighbors they were harmless when the stakes aroused their curiousity. I lay next to the nest with my camera to get pictures, but none were close to yours. They are shy little creatures and it took some time for them to get used to the looming unfamiliar creature lying next to their nest.

OregonWild said...

Thanks for the nice comments everyone. I am actually kind of surprised that I was able to get quality images of the one green metallic bee I observed.

For instance with the honey bee, I took over 200 images with probably 40 different bees, With the green metallic bee I got four frames, two of which were good.

Dan - cool story about the colony in your lawn.

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Details About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
Husband, Father, Student Of Natural History, Photographer