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Photo#435439
Hymenopteran on Gumplant - Nomada - male

Hymenopteran on Gumplant - Nomada - Male
Just north of Pescadero, San Mateo County, California, USA
July 22, 2010
Found resting (perfectly still) in late afternoon on composite flower head of Grindelia stricta var. platyphylla (family Asteraceae), in coastal scrub on bluffs above the ocean.

Although gestalt looks somewhat "wasp-like", I think this is a bee...see images of Nomada "vegana species group". Apropos to bee vs. wasp question: Is that yellow "dot" just forward of the wing-base (see 2nd image of series) the tell-tale "pronotal lobe" distinguishing bee from wasp?

Initially, I thought I could make out short "scopa" on the bottom of the abdomen (see full-size 2nd image). But if this is indeed in the Nomada "vegana species group", then I guess it wouldn't need scopa...since members of that group are kleptoparasites of Agapostemon, according to this BugGuide info page. (Indeed, from perusing the images of Agapostemon on BugGuide, it seems they like to forage on yellow composite flowers...so this would be a reasonable place for a Nomada to hang out if it wanted to find an Agapostemon female that it could follow back to her nest.) Moreover, I think this is a male (13 antennal segments), so it wouldn't need pollen-collecting scopal hairs below its abdomen.

Images of this individual: tag all
Hymenopteran on Gumplant - Nomada - male Hymenopteran on Gumplant - Nomada

Moved
Moved from ID Request.

"the tell-tale "pronotal lobe"
distinguishing bee from wasp?"

All Apoidea have this including apoid wasps (=Sphecidae sensu lato).

It is a vegana [note spelling] group Nomada so there is no scopa.

Nomada females don't follow their hosts from flowers back to the nest. Rather they locate nest entrances directly.

 
Thanks for Corrections & Info!
I had (erroneously) thought the pronotal lobe distinguished the bees! Your correction prompted me to read up a bit and become more aware of (and interested in) sphecid wasps. Nevertheless...it'd be nice to know if that yellow "dot" was or was not the pronotal lobe? (Maybe not, seems to be touching tegula? Just curious because I often have a hard time discerning that character.)

I'll correct vengana -> vegana...sounds better & easier to pronounce too. (Knew bees were vegetarian...guess these ones don't do dairy either :-)

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