Myrmecos

Monday Night Mystery

Something took a bite out of this leaf:

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What was it?

Three points for the taxonomic order of the culprit, five for family, and two for explaining the natural history. Points are awarded only for the first correct guess in each category. And maybe some extra ones if you get creative with the natural history.

The cumulative points winner for the month of June 2010 will get their choice of 1) any 8×10 print from my photo galleries; or 2) a guest post on the safe-for-work topic of their choice.

Comments

  1. #1 MrILoveTheAnts
    June 21, 2010

    Leaf Cutter Bee!

  2. #2 MrILoveTheAnts
    June 21, 2010

    Mega Chili… err Megachilidae.

  3. #3 James C. Trager
    June 21, 2010

    Hymenoptera: Megachilidae (probably genus Megachile)
    Uses leaf or petal fragment to line and separate individual cells of larvae provisioned with a pollen ball each.

  4. #4 Ted C. MacRae
    June 21, 2010

    Yep, leafcutter bees. They don’t eat the cut pieces, but use them to fashion cells in tunnels of their nest constructed in wood cavities or the ground. They provision the cells with pollen, lay an egg, and seal with a cut piece of leaf.

  5. #5 James C. Trager
    June 21, 2010

    Hymenoptera: Megachilidae (probably genus Megachile)
    Uses leaf or petal fragment to line and separate individual cells of larvae provisioned with a pollen ball each.

  6. #6 Tonya
    June 21, 2010

    Order Mammalia, Family Hominidae, specifically Homo sapiens. Looks like someone has been collecting leaf punches for a choice assay.

  7. #7 Adrian Thysse, FCD
    June 21, 2010

    Ditto, James C. Trager.

    Finally I recognize something and everyone beats me to the punch… :-(

  8. #8 Hp
    June 21, 2010

    As others have pointed out, Megachilidae. I’m agnostic as to the Megachile classification, but that’s as good as any given the evidence at hand.

    What’s little known is that the Megachilidae consider leaves to be their own personal bitches. Apart from sealing larval cells, the megachilidae expect leaves to work for a goddamn living and bring back a little sumthin’-sumthin’ unless they want a bee to go whack on their ass.

    “This ain’t the Ritz Carlton, you skeevy dicotoledonous organ! You live in my tree, you do things my way. Where’s my pollen? Where is my god-damn pollen? I’ll cut you up! I’ll cut you up to seal my larva!”

    And thus, nature in her infinite wisdom teaches us yet another valuable lesson about life.

  9. #9 Julie Stahlhut
    June 22, 2010

    (Without looking at any of the above comments)

    Looks like the work of a leaf cutting bee (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) to me! Females nest in hollow twigs or stems, cut these round pieces of leaf with their mandibles, and use them to line the larval nest cells.

    I once saw one nest in a hollow plastic tube that formed a perch in one of my mother-in-law’s bird feeders. We watched “BTV” all morning!

  10. #10 DragonflyWoman
    June 22, 2010

    Aw man! I finally knew the answer to one of these and was too slow to be numero uno… Oh well. These bees ransack my rosebushes every year, the little bums, but they’re so cute it’s hard not to love them anyway. I’m always impressed by their speed too – they cut those circles out SO quickly!

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