Thursday, 9 August 2012

Field report: 8 August

Something I have to work on at my part-time job. Anyway I'm putting it up here and then I'll do a proper write-up later in my new lab notebook. I hate making cross-outs on new paper. My boss is into bees and wants to collect parasites from bee poop. So we muddied ourselves today in the fields and captured the little rascals.

Bumblebees were captured at the Tremough Campus and sealed in tubes. Bumblebees are differentiated from honeybees by a larger overall size. A syringe was inserted into each tube to collect the faeces of the bumblebee. The tubes were labelled C0001-C0014 and stored in an ice bucket, as higher temperatures may kill bumblebees.

Identifying species of bumblebees by observing morphology
Each bumblebee was identified by observing morphology and comparing with the information on the Natural History Museum website. Males have long antennae, flatter mandibles and no sting. Females have short antennae, pointed mandibles and a sting at the tail-end.

Sample: C0001
Features: Has a pointed sting, short antennae, and pointed mandible. Bands of thorax: yellow, black. Bands on abdomen: black, yellow, black. Bright yellow, not lemon yellow. Whitish tail. Possibly B. terrestris or B. lucorum. Dead.

Sample: C0002
Features: thorax bands: yellow, black, yellow. Abdomen: yellow, black. Male. Long antennae, less pointed mandibles. Tail is white with black tip. Long head. Probably B. horotum.  Infected with crithidia parasite.

Sample: C0003
Features: thorax bands: yellow-black-yellow.  Abdomen bands: mainly yellow. Female. Short antennae, pointed sting with black tip. Pointed mandibles. Carries pollen on legs. A bald patch was present on thorax, causing a yellow-black-yellow pattern to emerge, instead of yellow patch. This is because the bee was old. Orange-red tail. B. pasquorum.

Sample: C0004
Features: orange thorax. Abdomen: black and yellow stripes. Pointed sting, carries pollen, short antennae. Pointed mandible. Black head, female. B. pascuorum.

Sample: C0005
Short antennae, no sting, normal mouth, black head. Thorax bands: yellow, black.
Abdomen bands: yellow, black. Yellow-white tail. Male. B. terrestris.

Sample: C0006
Feature: Short antennae. Thorax bands: yellow, black. Abdomen bands: eyllow, black. Yellow-white tail. Pointed mandible. Has sting. Female. B. terrestris.

Sample: C0007
Features: Short antennae. Orange-brown tail. Thorax bands: yellow, black. Abdomen is black. Carries pollen. Pointed mandible. Sting. Black head. Female. B. pratorum.

Sample: C0008
Features: Black head. Orange thorax. Yellowish head. Black abdomen. Carries pollen. Brown tail. Sting. Short antennae. Pointed mandible. Female. B. pascuorum.

Sample: C0009
Features: long antennae, thorax bands: yellow, black. Black abdomen. No sting. Flat mandible. Male. Pale-coloured tail. Pale yellow band on thorax. P. bohemicus or P. sylvestris. Hairy legs without pollen packets shows it is a cuckoo bumblebee.

Sample: C0010
Features: Carried pollen. Orange thorax. Sting. Short antennae. Pointed mandible. Brown tail. Abdomen: yellow, black. Female. B. pascuorum.

Sample: C0011
Features: Orange tail, black abdomen. Thorax: yellow, black. Short antennae, pointed mandible, sting. Female. B. pratorum. 

Sample: C0012
Features: thorax bands: yellow, black. Abdomen: yellow, black. Light-coloured tail. B. terrestris.

Sample: C0013
Features: Thorax bands: yellow, black. Abdomen bands: yellow, black. Light-coloured tail. B. terrestris.

Observing Crithidia parasites in faeces of bumblebees
Faeces samples for C0002, C0009 and C0011 were obtained from the syringes and placed on microscopic slides. They were observed under a light microscope. Crithidia was observed in C0002, C0006, C0009, C0011 as moving objects.

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