Dear all ... I have to apologize to all of you who put a considerable and admirable effort in identifying this "bee" - because I haven' been sincere.
The photo of a bee - Andrena rufomaculata
female - has been photoshopped.
It all started with a sad story of the bee orchid, Ophrys apifera
, a rare self-pollinating orchid. Please, bear with me for a while.
Members of Ophrys
genus attract pollinators not with promise of food, but by promise of - sex. They emit pheromones similar to pheromones of females of pollinators and their labellums are similar in color and shape to those females (for example, O. bomybliflora
resembles a bumblebee; others resemble wasps, flys, and even spiders).
The bee orchid, Ophrys apifera
, also used to have and attract a pollinator (probably an Andrena
, or Eucera
or even Tetralonia sp.
) - but this pollinator all but dissapeared from its range; and the flower had to resort to self-pollinating.
However, the bee orchid still has an image of a female of the pollinating species 'painted' on its labellum ...
Finding a bee orchid earlier this summer sparked my ineterst in this "missing bee" - and a recent xkcd comic (http://xkcd.com/1259/
) then inspired me to perpetrate this ... fraud.
The photo I have posted is an Andrena rufomaculata
altered in such a way as to resemble the color pattern on a labellum of this unfortunate bee orchid.
It is a humble attempt at reconstruction of an extinct bee (well, at least locally extinct).
And i couldn't help myself and tried to deceive you all (or, maybe, if you would identify the bee, even find the missing O. apifera
pollinator, which would be a great story too!).
I am sorry for abusing your time and knowledge.
And thank you for being so cooperative, helpful and insightful. I sincerely hope there are no (or at least not many) hard feelings.