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backMacrophoto-monographs: Myrmilla calva and Halictus

Observations on the attack and defence behaviour of Myrmilla calva (Mutillidae) and of Halictus (Apoidea)

by G.L.Agnoli

Near Parma, Italy, summer 2001. The sequence records a Myrmilla calva mutillid female trying to parasitize the nest of the apid bee Halictus.

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Myrmilla & Halictus Myrmilla & Halictus Myrmilla & Halictus Myrmilla & Halictus
Myrmilla & Halictus Myrmilla & Halictus Myrmilla & Halictus Myrmilla & Halictus

 

Two Halictus bees have shown a strong sense of defence of their nest and of pseudosocial collaboration. When the velvet ant begins to menace the nest, one bee closes the opening and flies above the nest to control it from the air, and the other bee attacks the velvet ant to send it away.

The velvet ant falls under the attack and retires, trying to bury itself under the soft soil. But after few time the velvet ant breaks the defence, forcing both the bees to nosedive the mutillid alternately. At last, the velvet ant is defeated and forced to withdraw.

Technical data: Canon T90 at 1/90" shutter speed, Canon Macro Ring Lite ML2 TTL, Kiev 80mm reversed lens, manual diaphragm, Fujichrome Velvia 50 RVP.

For citation purposes
Agnoli G.L. & Rosa P., Chrysis.net website, interim version 10-Jan-2010 , URL: http://www.chrysis.net/.