Subject: Mystery bug hiding on lupine
Location: Sunol-Ohlone Wilderness, CA
April 15, 2015 7:31 pm
I was taking a photo of the bee on the lupine, and only noticed later the insect that was upside down on the stalk. I have no idea what it is, can you please help me identify it?
Signature: R. Battaglia
Dear R. Battaglia,
The insect hiding along the stalk of the lupine is a Snakefly, in the order Raphidioptera, and according to BugGuide: “Both larvae and adults are predatory, though they are capable of catching and killing only small and weak prey. Snakefly larvae feed on eggs and larvae of various insects, as well as adults of minute arthropods (e.g. mites, springtails, barklice, and homopterans). Adults typically prefer aphids but may eat a wide variety of arthropods.” Though females possess an ovipositor that resembles a stinger, Snakeflies are harmless to humans. We are very curious about your Solitary Bee because of our interest our own in native pollinators and their relationship to native plants. This may be a Leafcutter Bee in the genus Megachile, and BugGuide has many subgenera represented, but alas, we would need input from someone with more experience to provide a definitive identification.
Dear Mr. Marlos,
Thank you for the Snakefly ID. Regarding the bee, although that particular picture was taken in Sunol, I do have a healthy population of leafcutters in my yard in Pleasanton, as evidenced by the many notched leaves of my Redbud. I’ve had a fabulous collection of native pollinators in my yard this year!