Thanks to @zosimov I was motivated to create this thread. He mentioned my avatar and I wanted to share with him more information about how I came to
choose it, but I didn't want to distract from his beautiful thread. www.abovetopsecret.com...
First a little backstory.
I was sitting on my porch one day enjoying the beauty of the backwoods, while listening to a Dean Kootnz novel on Audible. I kept seeing something
that looked like a sparkling green light, dance around a plant I had sitting just outside the porch. After a short while it was so noticeable, I was
compelled to find out what was creating this unusual green light.
I was surprised to find the plant full of these tiny creatures that look like an ordinary honey bee, but their was nothing ordinary about them. They
were a brilliant sparkly green when touched by the sunlight. I took a ton of pictures, that got lost when my cell phone died. I was intrigued, because
I had never heard of, nor had I seen green bees before. I was pleased to find information on these beautiful creatures while not native to the area,
had come to call this area home.
They are called Emerald Bees, Green Orchid Bees, Orchid Bees or Euglossa dilemma.
All orchid bees are native to the New World tropics, from Mexico throughout Central and tropical South America. Specimens of one species of this
group, Euglossa dilemma, commonly known as the green orchid bee, were collected in Broward County, Florida in 2003 by entomologists working with the
USDA fruit fly monitoring program. This arrival was likely from a nest imported from Mexico concealed within a wooden structure such as a pallet.
Originally considered to be Euglossa viridissima; Eltz et al. (2011) found the orchid bees in Florida to be Euglossa dilemma, a newly described
cryptic sibling species of Euglossa viridissima
Since this arrival, the green orchid bee has become well established in South Florida. Current reports of this species are mostly from Broward, Palm
Beach and Dade Counties. However its future distribution has been predicted to include almost half of peninsular Florida. Following a line that runs
from Tampa to West Palm Beach and south, the potential range extends tothe entire southern tip of the Florida Peninsula.
Green orchid bees are a quite conspicuous and charismatic species. This is mostly due to their large size and bright metallic-green coloration
(Fig.1). They are roughly the same size to slightly smaller than a honey bee, usually about 1.3 cm in length.
Though closely related to highly social bees in the same family, orchid bees are primarily solitary, showing only primitively social characteristics
such as occasionally sharing communal nesting locations.
I have fallen in love with these beautiful creatures. Watching them provides me with a sense of awe. They are beautiful and they provide for a bit of
the surreal. I have been on ATS for eleven years without an avatar. These guys inspired me to create one.