119/150: Blue Bee or not Blue Bee… The unsung heroes of orchard pollination


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Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Hymenoptera: Megachilidae: Osmia: Osmia lignaria Say 1837

When you think of important pollinators, you picture honeybees and bumblebees, but have you heard of blue bees? The Blue Orchard Bee or Mason Orchard Bee (Osmia lignaria) is a species in the family Megachilidae, a group of solitary bees with long hairs on the underside of their abdomens used to carry pollen (scopa). Continue reading “119/150: Blue Bee or not Blue Bee… The unsung heroes of orchard pollination”

106/150: Thrips are tiny insects with big agricultural implications


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Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Thysanoptera: Thripidae: Thripinae: Frankliniella: Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande, 1895)

Western flower thrips belong to the order Thysanoptera. These insects are very small (~1mm long) and elongated with long thin wings fringed with hairs. Like true bugs, they have small piercing and sucking mouthparts on the underside for feeding on plant tissue. Continue reading “106/150: Thrips are tiny insects with big agricultural implications”

101/150: Not a banana, not a mango, it’s a pawpaw fruit!


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Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Magnoliales: Annonaceae: Asimina: Asimina triloba Linnaeus, Dunal

What do you get when you cross the taste of a banana with the look and texture of a mango? A pawpaw fruit! Believe it or not, the tropical-looking pawpaw tree, which is native to North America, gives the largest tree berry in all of North America. When blossoming, the common pawpaw (Asimina tribola) can give off an unpleasant odour. Continue reading “101/150: Not a banana, not a mango, it’s a pawpaw fruit!”