pseudocopulation

Long-horned Bee - Eucera longicornis

The Long-horned BeeEucera longicornis (Hymenoptera - Apidae) is a species of bee widespread in Eurasia, the range extending east to Siberia and China.

The extraordinarily long antennae of male Eucera longicornis readily distinguish these bees from males of any other bee species (when laid back these reaching the apex of the gaster). The male clypeus and labrum are bright yellow. In the female, the antennae are considerable shorter, when laid back their distal segments only reaching the scutellum.

Long-horned bees are solitary. Female excavates her own nest, though females will nest in aggregations.

Eucera longicornis is one of the species of bees whose males perform pseudocopulation with orchids flowers of the genus Orchis.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Nikola Rahmé

Locality: Europe (unknown)

“Amplexus (Latin "embrace”) is a form of pseudocopulation found chiefly in amphibians and horseshoe crabs in which a male grasps a female with his front legs as part of the mating process. At the same time or with some time delay, he fertilizes the female eggs with fluid containing sperm. Fossil evidence also suggests that a certain Cambrian form of euthycarcinoid (an extinct arthropod) may also have mated by amplexus.“ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amplexus)

Ophrys alasiatica

This orchid, Ophrys alasiatica (Orchidaceae), is a species endemic to Cyprus, found growing in the grasslands, up to 50 cm tall. Plant blooms in the winter and spring with three to six flowers.

Ophrys orchids are commonly known as Bee orchids, because each bee orchid flower bears some resemblance to a furry bee, at least to the human eye, but they have evolved to attract specific pollinating insects.

Each species or variety of bee orchid has (usually) just one species of solitary bee or wasp that pollinates it.  Male bees emerge a week before the females, which they have never seen, and they are attracted to the orchid flower because it has a scent similar to that of the female bee. The males perhaps find the shape of the flower fits their instinctive pattern of a female and so try to mate with it, this phenomena is called pseudocopulation. As they do so they touch the pollen sacs which detach from the flower and stick to the bee. When it visits another flower the pollen sacs have bent over so that they touch the stigma of the second flower and stick to it, so effecting pollination.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Christodoulos Makris

Locality: Vasa, Limassol, Cyprus. 

We were playmates.

       I stood naked

          You cloaked in sand

You a cold light

        I held high

           Your command

If you left my sight

           I would swell no more

             My abilities are not mine

But here she comes

       A new full moon

And I’ll rise

        And I’ll fall

And we’ll put to sleep

The time we were kids in a watery keep.

-PseudoCopulation

I have relegated you to a 2x2 space you’ll share with two others. The wind bites and the sun pours only on the spires of the tallest pines with the deepest roots. And here we are, you and I, below the ground, above the sea next to the grade school on 109.

I don’t expect your growth. Not until the sun pours down at least upon the junipers and holly. Though so often we find ourselves among the fern fronds and soft moss. Stay standing in this 2x2 I’ll sing to you here below the ground, above the sea next to the grade school on 109.

I had a dream that I woke from in a euphoric daze like my wishes might be true and validated and all was right in my core in my heart, two muscles that have been weak and aching. I had a dream that I woke one morning and this white walled Bacchanal tabernacle had turned deep green. That you burst forth from the space that I relegated you to. You seized my apartment, the island, the county, you looked down on Manhattan from the cliffs of Fort Lee as you turned the brackish liquid of the Hudson from sludge to water to salt to land. And corporally you confined me to a 6x6, how generous, where my body lays still living below the ground, above the sea next to the grade school on 109. 

But your roots in my core and your flowers in my heart, I am with you looking down on Manhattan and I hear you say “I am life, your dearest friend, your closest family, you kept me close when the sun only poured upon the pinnacles of pines, you held space for me when we were relegated to the moss and ferns, come with me from the undergrowth, I love you and yours. I’ll hold you strong, my roots and flowers will keep-” Then I woke up with love in my eyes that quickly brushed away to keep appearances. I sat in my bed feeling full but forgetting the dream I had played out on my back in my bed below the ground above the sea next to the grade school on 109.

But you spoke again, as if you were in my aching core and pounding heart, “Never ever take for granted what might grow from seeds you’ve planted.”

-PseudoCopulation