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Photo#803639
Tiny, fast-moving bees on small, low flowers - Calliopsis - male - female

Tiny, fast-moving bees on small, low flowers - Calliopsis - Male Female
San Joaquin Marsh, Irvine, Orange County, California, USA
July 12, 2013
These bees come in batches of around a dozen to feed and court on flowers that are either fiddleneck or something close to it. (I have plant views, if helpful.) It appears that male bees have orange/yellow tipped antennae while those of the female are a solid color. On the back of many bees, a single stripe is broken. Except for this photo, I have separated bees by gender but have made no attempt to pick out individuals. The females stay with the flowers, but the males sometimes plunk down solo on a plant stalk to rest, similar to the way Calliopsis perch on rocks. (I'll post the females later.)

They are interesting to watch, but tough to shoot. These photos are an improvement on earlier shots - not posted - and I'll be going back to try again.

Images of this individual: tag all
Tiny, fast-moving bees on small, low flowers - Calliopsis - male - female Tiny, fast-moving bees  - Calliopsis - male Tiny, fast-moving bees  - Calliopsis - male Tiny, fast-moving bees  - Calliopsis - male Tiny, fast-moving bees  - Calliopsis - male

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Great find Ron!
Hope you're successful in getting more shots.

The plant is not fiddleneck but another member of the borage family Alkali heliotrope, Heliotropium curassavicum. A frequently encountered plant around the marsh.

If I can find the time this week, I will try to get out to the marsh. I'll check out your spot as well as several spots on the NE edge of pond A & B that have nice stands of Alkali heliotrope. In the past I've seen what I suspect were Andrenid bees working those plants. I was leading a walk then so I did not spend much time there.

 
Thanks, Rich. I really couldn't figure out that plant.
I've seen small stands of it elsewhere in the marsh, seen only small black bees (Ceratina?) on it, but never really studied the stuff.

On a parallel track, I keep forgetting to mention that there are loads of interesting bees at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Group in Claremont. Search this site for examples; Hartmut Wisch shoots a lot there and is a docent. Perhaps he's take you around.

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Thanks, John.
More to come.

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