USGS Bee Lab: Megachile fortis
- Artist Bio
- About the Bee
- Print Details
The United States Geological Survey’s Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab tracks the health and habitat of native bees, which includes creating a visual archive that helps researchers identify bee species in North America. Headed by researcher Sam Droege, the Bee Lab has created over 1400 finely detailed macro photographs, which more closely resemble portraits than mere scientific documentation.
Megachile fortis is a species of bee in the family Megachilidae, which are most commonly known as mason bees and leafcutter bees, reflecting the materials from which they build their nest cells. They are mostly solitary bees whose pollen-carrying structure is restricted to the ventral surface of the abdomen, rather than mostly or exclusively on the hind legs as in other bee families. This particular specimen was collected in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.
Megachilid bees are among the world's most efficient pollinators because of their energetic swimming-like motion in the reproductive structures of flowers, which moves pollen, as needed for pollination. One of the reasons they are efficient pollinators is their frequency of visits to plants, but this is because they are extremely inefficient at gathering pollen; compared to all other bee families, megachilids require on average nearly 10 times as many trips to flowers to gather sufficient resources to provision a single brood cell.
This limited-edition art print is made using archival pigment inks on premium metallic photographic paper, and includes a certificate of authenticity. The listed dimensions are for the final paper size, and include a 1/2 inch margin for framing.