Tuesday, July 29, 2008

bumble bees helping to catch serial killers

Here's another way (of the myriad ways) that hymenopterans are useful and interesting. The BBC reports that bumble bees (Apidae: Bombus) could be used indirectly to catch serial killers in the U.K. By focusing on their foraging ecology, models could be developed to inform police on the habits of serial killers.

copyright Merlin_1.

Update: Looks like ScienceDaily picked up the story as well, accompanied by a picture of Xylocopa (Apidae) (possibly X. virginica). Hmmm...

Monday, July 28, 2008

pathogens in bumble bees

I forgot this article in PLoS ONE by Otterstatter & Thomson, which describes the potential for pathogens from Europe-raised bumble bees (Apidae: Bombus) to affect (negatively) the species native to the U.S.A.

Hymenoptera in the news (28 July 2008)

I thought it might be useful to peruse the literature every couple weeks for papers relevant to Hymenoptera and post my findings here. So here goes the inaugural post! Did I miss anything?

  • Over at PNAS it appears that a tiny trichogrammatid (Chalcidoidea: Trichogrammatidae - aren't they all tiny?!) made the cover (below) of this weeks's issue. The related article, which describes an interesting tritrophism between Pieris brassicae, Brussels sprouts, Trichogramma brassicae, was published by Fatouros et al.

  • Pannebakker et al. have an article over at Evolution about spontaneus mutation accumulation on sex ratio traits in Nasonia vitripennis (Chalcidoidea: Pteromalidae)

  • The honey bee (Apidae: Apis mellifera) made it into Nature again, with a letter about the "evolutionary nascence of a novel sex determination pathway" from Hasselmann et al.

  • Zootaxa has a new article by Bolton & Fisher that describes new Asphinctopone (Formicidae)

  • Vilhelmsen et al. wrote a great article for the Journal of Natural History that describes the subgenual organ of Stephanidae.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. What did you find?

tiny wasp on insect egg
Trichogramma on the cover of PNAS 105 (29)


Watch this site for news about the International Society of Hymenopterists and about sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants in general.