• May 2023 Photo-observation of the Month

    A Mining Bee (Andrena sp.) hitches a ride on the tail end of an American Emerald in Starksboro, VT. © Bernie Paquette

    Congratulations to Bernie Paquette (aka bugeyedbernie) for winning the May 2023 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His photo of an unusual insect pair received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

    This month’s winning photo observation offers a reminder to look closely and pay attention to behavior to make exciting new discoveries! When Bernie noticed a dragonfly acting strangely on the ground, he got up close with his camera and documented a fascinating interaction between a bee and a dragonfly. Surprisingly, the bee was not shaken loose when the dragonfly took flight, and it’s anyone’s guess exactly what was going on here. Some hypotheses put forth by other naturalists guess that the bee may have been in search of salts, minerals, or other nutrients on a rather unusual substrate; or perhaps this male mining bee was confused by the pheromones exuded by the dragonfly and attempted to mate with it! Either way, this observation goes right up there in the pantheon of odd pairings on iNaturalist, including two of my personal favorites: a Wood Frog embracing a Spotted Salamander and an amorous male American Kestrel flirting with a skeptical Merlin.

    With 25,171 observations submitted by 1,971 observers in May, it was very competitive. Click on the image above to see and explore all of the amazing observations.

    Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!

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