Amegilla bombiformis: Australian Teddy Bear Bee

  Wikipedia says (alongside a stunning photo):

Amegilla bombiformis, commonly known as the Teddy Bear Bee or Golden haired mortar bee, is an Australian native bee in the family Apidae.

WP_20150223_009
Teddy Bear Bee, taken on my Nokia Lumia 520, cropped

LEFT: I’ve had two of these bees visiting my fake jasmine creeper for most of the week. When I first saw them I couldn’t believe my eyes – thinking they were European bumblebees. I was searching my conscience to see how I felt about failing to report them to the Department of the Environment when I recalled reading about our native teddy bear bees. Foreign bumblebees are kept from mainland Australia to keep our many smaller native bees safe. Our island State, Tasmania, hosts the pretty European.

On that first day,I followed my visitors around and around the jasmine for an hour without getting a single clear image, and if you look at the first You Tube video below from Aussie Bees you’ll see why. They just will not keep still long enough!

Aussie Bees is a handy site for bee identification.

beeflying
Nokia Lumia 520, cropped

RIGHT: They have this weird habit of flying all bunched up like a ball, but sometimes they leave some legs hanging (that pale loop out front is a vine on the jasmine).

From the stripes, both the black ones and the hairless, I decided that they are the teddy bear bee, despite the whitish head. Perhaps they have been breeding with their close cousin, the blue-banded bee.

BELOW: A few of the the blue-banded ones are here, too, looking terrific when the blue glints in the sun! Again, so hard to catch them still long enough to photograph. They are smaller than the teddy bear, but still a very large bee.  You can just see the bluish tint in the image … just!

Teddy Bear Bee, taken on my Nokia Lumia 520, cropped
Blue-banded bee, taken on my Nokia Lumia 520, cropped

And another fascinating video from Aussie Bees.

I found that they sleep clustering on stems, holding on with their jaws, fascinating.

balledbee
Teddy bear bee feeding. Nokia Lumia 520, uncropped.
Advertisements

22 Comments Add yours

  1. All your photos are fascinating, Christine. That first close-up is interesting in that the bee looks so furry and is that a crash helmet he’s wearing? 😀 😀
    Thank you for the videos. How different the bees look and not like ours. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ChristineR says:

      Hi Tess, I’ve never seen these ones before in my life – all 60 years of it! – so it is a thrill. I think they must have their burrow nearby. I bet all our other bees look like yours. 😀

      Like

        1. ChristineR says:

          Thanks for the link Tess. I hadn’t even thought to look up images. The black and gold ones are what I expect a bee to look like. 😀

          Like

          1. Me too but I don’t understand why I was surprised there are different bees somewhere else. 😮

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue says:

    I assumed that all bees lived/slept in hives. Its a beautiful creature. You may have discovered a new bee if it looks different, check it out you might end up with a “Christine Teddy Bear Bee” (Christingilla Bombiformis!!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ChristineR says:

      LOL, Sue! ❤ I was surprised to learn about the burrows or sleeping on twigs. 😮

      Like

  3. Sue says:

    Just watched the videos, wow, they are amazing little things.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. joannesisco says:

    You have the oddest bees! It really does look like a teddy bear 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ChristineR says:

      Cute, aren’t they, Joanne!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. milliethom says:

    These are amazing bees, Christine. I’ve never seen any like them before. That first picture of the Teddy Bear Bee creased me up. Clever you for snapping it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ChristineR says:

      Thanks Millie. Actually I sort of have to just hope the bee will fly in front of the camera!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. milliethom says:

        They always seem to play nicely for you, Christine. They’d be more likely to just ‘buzz off’ for me! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Paul G Day says:

    These are really good photos. My wife wants to know if you have any photos of the Blue Banded Bee?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ChristineR says:

      Thanks Paul. There is one image of the blue-banded bee (I hope that is what it is!) in this post. There is another visiting, but it flits about so quick I just cannot get a proper pic, and the bands on it are a really bright blue. I’ll keep trying!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. fatericsmum says:

    Super photos, Christine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ChristineR says:

      Thank you Paula.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Unreqwrited says:

    Christine – You are the bomb on bombiformis! The Teddy Bear bee looks so huggable 🙂 How exciting to have them living nearby to you. Super photos and links 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Claudette says:

    Wow, they are really different – never seen any down here in Tassie, but I do have many, many Bumbles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have the real bumblebees, Claudette. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Claudette says:

        But I do love your Teddy Bear ones 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

Tell me what you're thinking.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s