Photos of the month

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A Bee or not to Bee

This last month has been dominated by watching and finding some remarkable bees. Our own garden has yielded two new life species but pride of place goes to Longstone Edge and the infilled flourspar quarry-site known as Deep Rake, which has become a favourite summer site. Today was no exception with about 15 common redstarts and c6 spotted flycatchers. But back to the bees. It was where we recently found a species of bee that has only been recorded in Derbyshire once before. See the captions for the full details on all eight images. I’m struck by how many harmless solitary bees, as well as many hoverflies, and other Batesian mimics converge on the basic appearance of the sting-possessing worker honey bee. This disguise presumably lends them all a degree of protection from predators, which are conditioned to think they may possibly be stung if they try to eat the honey-bee mimic. It also ensures that many bees look rather alike.

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