When I was walking in the desert (the botanical garden, to be precise), I noticed a black bee hovering near me. When I was last in Arizona, I had seen similar behavior when a male was attempting to attract the attention of a female. This time, though, there was only one. Since it seemed likely to hang around for a while, I started setting up my lights. As I did so it landed on the underside of a spine and I thought I might get a chance to get some nice close ups. As I worked, I noticed that it was laying eggs. Lots of eggs.
It clung there and laid eggs for about ten minutes, then flew off. This shot was right as the last eggs was being laid. The things you can see here are amazing.
* Fresh eggs are whiter than white. You can see older eggs of other insects further up the spine that are darker.
* These bees lay a lot of eggs. Far more than I had thought they would.
* You can see the pollen on the legs of the bee. Apparently laying eggs just something you do between meals.
* Bees have hairy eyes. I’ve noticed this before, but it still seems weird to me.
After this, I started looking under the spines of other cacti and there are tons of eggs there. I guess it makes sense since insects lay eggs under leaves in forests, and these are just desert leaves. Still, it’s pretty neat to watch.