Sunday, May 13, 2018

New cuckoo bees discovered

UK BBC reports:
Scientists have discovered 15 new species of cuckoo bees hidden in North American museum collections and in an ancient thesis.

Like their avian counterparts, cuckoo bees lay their eggs in the nests of other bees, usually solitary dwellers.

When the cuckoos hatch they kill off the usurped bees' larva and are raised by the unsuspecting host.

Researchers say that this type of behaviour is common in bees and up to 15% of species are cuckoos.
If you were a bee, which would you find more contemptible -- the cuckoo bees, or the bees that tolerate the cuckoo bees?

I think that the tolerant bees would be the more contemptible one. The cuckoo bees are just taking advantage of what is being made available to them. The tolerant bees are selling out their kind, and letting their resources be taken by an invasive species.

In modern lingo, the tolerant bees are the "cucked" ones.
These cuckoos are said to look more like wasps than other bees, with a smoother, less fuzzy look. This is because they don't have the body hairs that other bees use to collect pollen for their young, as they rely on the hosts to do that for them.

They also tend not to be seen near flowers, but are often found hovering close to the ground searching for host nests.

They are sometimes seen in the early morning "resting" on leaves as they don't have any nests of their own.
The cuckoo bees have apparently decided to freeload on the cucked bees, like living on welfare instead of working. The cucked bees may or may not realize that their pollen is being stolen by parasites that do not even bother to feed their own young.

This is how the natural world works. Be willing to kill, or be killed. Feed your young, or watch parasites take your food. Stick up for your kind, or be crushed by other groups that do.

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