The amazing diversity of wild bees

Published 5:27 PM ET, Fri December 9, 2016
03 vanishing sutter franklins bee03 vanishing sutter franklins bee
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There are an estimated 20,000 bee species worldwide, including those with green and blue bodies. This bee was collected from Biscayne National Park near Miami. USGS
"An obscure bee of the desert, Martinapis luteicornis, only is active early in the morning just as the sky begins to lighten," writes Sam Droege with the US Geological Survey. USGS
This male bee comes from Oahu, Hawaii. USGS
"Ah, the lovely yellow of Bombus perplexus," writes Droege. "For some reason, this species' coloration tends towards bright yellow while other eastern bumbles are more subdued in their yellowness. It varies with their age (the sun fade bumbles plumage) but a nice lemon yellow (color) usually means this species." USGS
Anthidiellum ehrhorni lives in the dry, US Southwest. USGS
This bee with iridescent wings was collected in Michigan. USGS
This bombus perplexus -- a bumblebee -- specimen is from central Pennsylvania. USGS
Andrena wellesleyana is "one of a number of species where the males have extensive yellow on their faces while the females are completely black." USGS
A bee captured in Arizona. It has orange pollen stuck to its face and sides. USGS
Diadasia rinconis, a bee with pollen and "a few stray cactus balls" on its hairy body, writes Droege. USGS
"This beautiful blue bee nests in snail shells," writes Droege. The Osmia conjuncta specimen comes from Maryland. USGS
A female Agapostemon splendens. Collected at Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve in Florida. USGS
Bombus ternarius -- a bumblebee -- was collected in Franklin County, New York. "In most of New England, the only Bumble Bee with significant orange and yellow on its abdomen," Droege writes. USGS
Bombus bimaculatus is another species of bumblebee, found in Virginia. USGS