The Zoologist/4th series, vol 2 (1898)/Issue 685/The Insect Visitors of Flowers in New Mexico.—II

The Insect Visitors of Flowers in New Mexico.—II  (1898) 
by Theodore Dru Alison Cockerell

Published in: The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 2, issue 685 (July, 1898), p. 311–314


By T.D.A. Cockerell,
Entomologist of the New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station.

The present paper relates mostly to some investigations made in September and October, 1897, during a trip northward up the Rio Grande Valley. The localities visited were Rincon, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Española, Embudo, and Rinconada.

Rincon, N. M., Sept. 14th.

While the train stopped I was able to do a few moments' collecting, and obtained three species of bees: —

(1). Nomia foxii, Dalla Torre. One female at flowers of Solanum elæagnifolium.
(2). Perdita callicerata, Ckll. At flowers of Baileya multiradiata.
(3). Halictus sp., apparently new, at flowers of Gutierrezia sarothræ.

Albuquerque, N. M., Sept. 15th to 17th.

Altitude 5026 ft. Lat. 35°05'. Annual precipitation, 7·19 inches. Mean temperature: annual, 55·8°; for September, 68·5°.

The following flowers, which were collected, were not observed to be visited by bees:—Gaillardia, prob. pulchella, Aster multiflorus, Eriogonum rotundifolium, Orcocarya prob. suffrutescens, Abronia fragrans, Astragalus sp., Salvia lanceolata, Carlowrightia linearifolia, Anemiopsis californica, Chrysothamnus (i.e. Bigelovia) bigelovii, Flaveria angustifolia (almost over). The B. bigeloviii was common by the roadsides in the part of the town known as the Highlands, and was badly infested by some gall-making dipteron. I am indebted to Prof. E.O. Wooton for the names of these plants.

The following flowers were visited by bees: —

(1). Cleome serrulata; visited by Bombus morrisoni, Cr., Podalirius urbanus var. alamosanus (Ckll.), and Perdita zebrata, Cr.
(2). Grindelia sp.; visited by Ashmeadiella bucconis (Say), which is new to the fauna of New Mexico.
(3). Bigelovia wrightii; visited by Prosapis asinina var. bigeloviæ, Ckll. ined., Nomia nevadensis, Cr., Epeolus occidentalis, Cr., and Colletes armata, Patt.
(4). Helianthus annuus; visited by Perdita albipennis var. hyalina (Cr.), Pseudopanurgus athiops (Cr.) Melissodes agilis, Cr., Andrena helianthi, Rob. (new to N.M.), and Nomia persimilis, Ckll. ined., ♀. The females of Nomia persimilis mimic Andrena helianthi to such a degree that when collecting them I did not distinguish the two species.
(5). Asper sp. with purple rays; visited by males of Nomia persimilis, Ckll. ined.

There is one thing to be noticed in connection with the above records, namely, that the flowers which attracted the bees are not only of bright colours, but occur in large masses, so as to be visible from a distance. The other eleven flowers are either comparatively inconspicuous, or do not occur in large masses, except perhaps the Anemiopsis, which seems quite unsuited for bees.

Santa Fé, N.M., Oct. 3rd to 5th.

Alt. 7,026 ft. Lat. 35° 41'. Ann. precip. 14·69 in. Mean temp.: annual, 49·6°; for October, 51·0°.

The end of the bee season was at hand, and few species were on the wing. Bigelovia or Chrysothamnus speciosus var.? latisquameus (det. E.O. Wooton) was still in flower, and attracted Halictus ligatus, Say, ♂, Colletes americana, Cr., ♀, and females of Melissodes, besides some undetermined males of Halictus. In a garden, marigolds and marguerites were yet in bloom, and I watched them with interest because, although garden flowers are usually unattractive to wild bees, they are visited when the wild flowers are mostly over, at the end of the summer. The result was as follows:—

(1). Marigolds; visited by males of Halictus ligatus. Say, and males and females of some small species of Halictus not yet studied.
(2). Marguerite; visited by one ♀ Perdita snowii, Ckll. This was a most interesting capture, as the species was hitherto known only by a unique specimen taken in Colorado. On Oct. 2nd I took at the marguerite a ♀ Perdita zebrata, Cr. (which normally visits Cleome), and a ♀ Halictus.

A single patch of the wild golden-rod (Solidago canadensis), almost over, was visited by a ♀ Halictus on Sept. 20th.

Española, N.M., Sept. 25th.

Two males of Halictus were taken while the train stopped. There were found here, close to the station, not only the common Xanthium canadense, but a quite different species of Xanthium, which to my surprise is reported by Prof. Wooton as differing from anything in the herbarium of Columbia University.

Embudo, N. M., Sept. 25th to 27th.

Alt. 5800 ft. Lat. 36° 10'. Ann. precip. 9-74 inches.

This locality was entirely new ground, entomologically speaking.

The following flowers were collected, but were not observed to be visited by bees:—Nasturtium sinuatum, Campanula parryi, Melilotus indica, M. alba, Fallugia paradoxa, Amarantus palmeri, A. grcscizans, Bahia absinthifolia, Aphyllon multiflorum, Euphorbia serpyllifolia, Polygonum (perhaps pringlei). These were all determined by Prof. E.O. Wooton. In the Mesilla Valley Melilotus indica, when massed in quantity, as was not the case at Embudo, is attractive to small bees (Halictus, Sphecodes, Colliopsis, Prosapis) at the beginning of May. I have taken Nomia nevadensis at Fallugia paradoxa at Albuquerque at the end of June; it is fairly attractive to hymenoptera when occurring in quantity; when collected at Embudo it was nearly over, only an occasional flower being seen. On Aug. 13th, at Mesilla, I saw Aphyllon multiflorum, Gray, persistently visited by a Ceratina; a single honey-bee also visited the flowers. The flowers turn indigo blue when subjected to cyanide fumes.

The following flowers at Embudo were visited by bees:—

(1). Cleome serrulata. Almost over; visited by Prosapis n. sp., ♀.
(2). Bigelovia (or Chrysothamnus) viscidiflora (det. E.O. Wooton).
(3). Bigelovia sp.

There were two species of Bigelovia, but unfortunately when collecting I did not at first appreciate this fact, and the collections were not separated. From the lower-growing form I took Perdita rhodura, Ckll. ined. (abundant), Andrena vulpicolor, Ckll. ined. (several), Podalirius maculifrons (Cr.), Agapostemon. sp. ♂, and a ♂ Colletes new to me. On the taller species Perdita affinis, Cr. (new to N. M.) was common. The other Bigelovia bees at Embudo were Colletes americana, Cr., ♀, C. simulans, Cr., ♀ (new to N.M.), Perdita subfasciata, Ckll. ined. (one), P. townsendi, Ckll. (hitherto supposed peculiar to the White Sands), Calliopsis coloradensis, Cr. (one), and sundry females of Melissodes. The new Andrena vulpicolor is a particularly fine species, with the thoracic pubescence of a foxy-red colour.

To complete the list of Embudo bees, it may be mentioned that a female Agapostemon texanus, Cr., was taken from a hole in the ground.

Rinconada, N.M., Sept. 26th.

This is only a few miles above Embudo. Two species of flowers were visited by bees:—

(1). Verbesina encelioides; visited by Halictoides marginatus (Cr.), Heriades variolosa (Cr.), which is new to N.M., Megachile sp. ♂, Megachile sp. ♀, and Megachile sp. ♀.
(2). Bigelovia, a tall species; visited by Melissodes menuacha, Cr., Colletes americana, Cr., Colletes sp. ♂ (new to me), Agapostemon sp., ♂, and Calliopsis n. sp. near coloradensis. Also by the butterfly Pyrameis cardui and the syrphid fly Chrysogaster bellula, Williston.

It is thus seen that the visitors observed at these two Compositæ were entirely different.

Las Cruces, N.M., Sept., Oct., 1895.

The following collections of autumnal bees have not heretofore been reported:—

(1). Verbesina encelioides; Oct. 9th, visited by a ♀ Pseudopanurgus æthiops (Cr.).
(2). Aster hesperius, Gray; Oct. 4th, seemed little attractive to bees: visited only by Agepostemon melliventris (Cr.), ♂, and a ♂ Halictus.
(3). Baileya multiradiata; Oct. 23rd, visited by Parandrena rhodocerata (Ckll.).
(4). Helianthus annuus; Sept. 21st, visited by Panurginus perlævis (Ckll.), Halictoides marginatus (Cr.), in great numbers, Andrena pulchella, Rob., Melissodes agilis, Cr., and Podalirius maculifrons (Cr.).

It is curious that the sunflower Andrena at Las Cruces should be A. pulchella, while that at Albuqerque is A. helianthi.

Las Cruces, N.M., Aug. 23rd, 1897.

In the Larrea zone close to Las Cruces the following were collected by Prof. C. H. T. Townsend and the writer from flowers of Cevallia sinuata, Lag. (Loasaceæ):—

Melissodes luteicornis, Ckll., ♂, Centris cæsalpiniæ, Ckll., ♂, Podalirius californicus, Gr., ♂, Anthidium maculifrons, Sm., ♂, Bombus near fervidus, prob. n. sp.

Mesilla, N.M., Aug. 21st, 1897.

The flowers of Martynia sp. were observed to be visited by Podalirius vallorum, Ckll., ♀. On Aug. 19th, at Mesilla Park, P. vallorum ♂ was visiting a cultivated Chilopsis. The two species of flowers mentioned, though of quite different affinities, are not dissimilar in colour and form.

Mesilla, N.M.

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