Beautiful blue banded bee photos from Malaysia

Blue banded bee

This is a blue banded bee photo. Ivan Cheah of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia made these bee photos. He was so kind to send them to Lizia in The Hague, the Netherlands, accompanied by notes:

Ivan Cheah wrote: “This bee is visiting this Lantana almost everyday. Guess this bee starting to recognise me… not so elusive anymore… allowing me to take a few shots of it. Not easy to take picture of this bee. Only those who tried or captured the picture of this bee will understand this.”

Lizia wrote: “It is the ‘Amegilla cingulata.’

Ivan Cheah wrote: “ Yes… precisely this is the same bee. This one from Wikipedia the blue color is not so significant, as bright and luminous as in my picture.

Blue banded bee in Victoria, Australia. Photo from Wikipedia

I think that one must be a female.

Females have four blue bands; males five.

Yup… this species is common in Australia… I think cross continental took place that’s why this species is also available in Malaysia. One thing I don’t understand is why this bee is always lone ranger… the most I saw before is only two of it at the same place.

Blue banded bee in Malaysia

My next hope is someday day I’ll get to see its hive… seriously if I get to see its hive it will be like I strike a lottery. Every time I see this bee I start asking myself… when will I get to see your hive?

Lizia: “It is a wild and solitary bee. You’ll find the nest of this lady if you have time to follow her.”

Comment on photo: Ivan Cheah: “Everytime I see it I will look at it attentively… to observe its behaviour. This bee is a very intelligent bee. Whenever I get near it… it will buzz erratically… funny thing is sometimes it will buzz just a feet from me for a few seconds … sometimes it will buzz away in a second… sometimes it will continue to collect the nectar. I guess… it stays because it’s hungry or else it will just buzz away … hahaha”

Lizia: “She must work hard, she can’t rely on others as she is solitary.” [ . . ]. “ Your ‘blue banded bee’ is very important for the cultivation of tomato-like plants (Solanaceae). Our domestic honey bee doesn’t like tomato or lantana flowers. The wild bees are important for the pollination of such flowers.”

Ivan Cheah: “I think this species population is very low… I don’t always get to see it. My worry is this species is very susceptible to extinction by pesticide since its population is so low as compared with honey bee.”

(Ivan Cheah / Cheah Lai Hoo (Ivan), Kuala Lumpur, studied at Indontgoto University)

Blue banded bee in Malaysia on lantana

Project Noah says: “The bees use a process that involves clinging onto flowers and vibrating powerfully, which causes the food source to shoot out.”

Project Noah says: ”Amegilla cingulata builds a solitary nest, but often close to one another.”

Malaysia is well aware of the value of ‘wild bees.’ The country developed a method of ‘trap nesting’ and managing wild carpenter bees to pollinate passion fruit (Passiflora edulis). (See:

Dave’s Garden: “During fall, blue banded bee adults all die as temperatures cool within their nests. Before they die however, the female bees lay eggs within the nests which become immature bees called prepupae. They remain dormant, burrowed in the nest inside cell sacs throughout the winter months and do not emerge until spring brings warmer weather. Then they finish their development into adults and emerge into the warmth of spring and begin a new season of life [5].’” Read more here.

Lazy Lizard Tales: “Blue-banded bee (Amegilla sp.), Chestnut Avenue: “These bees pose virtually no threat to people. A sting from these bees feels like a mere pinprick and is extremely unlikely anyway. A neatly kept garden and well-maintained walls and brickwork will discourage them from nesting where people may contact them. It should be noted, however, that they should indeed be encouraged in gardens.” It’s important to recognise that among the many species of bees and wasps present in Singapore, only a select few pose any potential serious danger to people, and usually only in situations when a nest has been disturbed. Even when hornet or honeybee nests have been detected, simply avoiding the immediate vicinity is typically enough to avoid provoking a defensive response.“ (another Ivan)

Stop rhino horn quackery, save rhinos

This video says about itself:

30 August 2015

Anneka Svenska blows open the MYTH surrounding RHINO HORN and WHY IT does NOT CURE AILMENTS!

Also why poaching Rhino Horn is contributing to the EXTINCTION of the world’s RHINOS including the SUMATRAN RHINO from MALAYSIA in 2015.

USA: Iowa taxidermist convicted of selling endangered black rhino horns to known trafficker sentenced to 2 years in jail: here.

Two-headed sea slug discovery off Malaysia

This video says about itself:

Borneo From Below: Ep 02 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Sea Slug!

11 August 2015

World’s weirdest nudibranch found off Borneo.

Have you ever seen anything quite as bizarre as this two-headed sea slug!? With over 3,000 species and coming in all shapes, sizes and colours, nudibranchs are fascinating critters. Some steal their prey’s defences to use as their own, whilst others power themselves using the sun. And now Scubazoo’s presenter Aaron “Bertie” Gekoski discovers they can even grow TWO HEADS! Come and see the weird world of nudis in Episode 2 of Borneo From Below, which includes this world-first. Found off the coast of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.

From the Daily Mail in Britain:

Two heads are better than one! Double-headed psychedelic sea slug is discovered off the coast of Borneo

Two-headed sea slug with neon colouring was found near a sandbar off the coast of Sabah in eastern Malaysian Borneo
Abnormality may have been caused by a birth defect or even pollution
Creature also has two sets of sexual organs – one male and one female

By Sarah Griffiths

Published: 17:05 GMT, 14 August 2015 | Updated: 17:05 GMT, 14 August 2015

Divers have discovered what is believed to be the world’s first two-headed sea slug.

A diver came across the psychedelic creature near a sandbar called Kapalai off the coast of Sabah in eastern Malaysian Borneo.

The abnormality may have been caused by a birth defect or even pollution.

Divers have discovered what is believed to be the world's first two-headed sea slug (pictured). The psychedelic creature is thought to have two heads sue to a birth defect or even pollution

As well as having two heads, the slug, or nudibranch as they are also known, also possesses both female and male sex organs because all nudibranches are hermaphrodites.

The creature, measuring around an inch-long (2.5cm) is part of the species Nembrotha kubaryana, but is more commonly known as a variable neon slug due to its incredible colouring of neon green and bright orange which warns predators of their toxicity.

They feed on sea squirts – tiny creatures with bag-like bodies – removing chemicals from them which it then stores, before exuding as a slimy mucus if it is threatened by predators.

Dive master Nash Baiti made the find while he was working for film company Scubazoo, making a new series called ‘Borneo from Below’.

He showed the creature to Clay Bryce, a nudibranch expert and marine biologist at the Western Australian Museum in Perth.

‘I have never seen another two headed marine creature like this before and I have spent 10,000 hours underwater chasing nudibranchs,’ said Mr Bryce.

‘Usually this sort of deformity sets the animal up for an early death, but it does appear to be adult or at least sub-adult so perhaps this is a case of two heads being better than one,’ he quipped.

‘It is a birth defect. Just a slight mix up of genes or perhaps damage caused by pollution.

‘However, the latter one would expect more incidences to have occurred.’

The crew were searching for the island’s most interesting underwater inhabitants to feature in their film, but had not expected to find a one-off.

The film’s presenter, Aaron ‘Bertie’ Gekoski said: ‘When Nash came back from the dive and reported his find we didn’t believe him at first!

‘Due to our film schedule we couldn’t get out there for another 72 hours, so were very sceptical that it would be found again.

‘However, Nash managed to locate it in exactly the same place as before.

‘Perhaps its two heads pulled in different directions, bringing it to an eternal standstill?

‘I spent nearly an hour with the nudibranch, waiting for it to get in the right position for a head shot.

‘It’s not just its two heads, but amazing neon colouring that make it really stand out.’

While the unusual specimen found was just one inch (2.5cm) long, the sea slug species can grow to measure five inches long (12cm).

Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia wildlife, new study

This 3 August 2015 video is about a recent study of Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia wildlife.

About this, from Naturalis Biodiversity Center, in Leiden, the Netherlands:

Evolution peaks on tropical mountain

Posted on 12-08-2015 by Rebecca Reurslag

Tropical mountains have an exceptionally high number of animal and plant species. What caused this high diversity?

Mount Kinabalu is such a mountain. The 4,095 meter high mountain is on the world Heritage list of UNESCO and is home to hundreds of unique species. These species, otherwise known as endemic species, do not occur anywhere else in the world. The question how these species evolved triggered an expedition to the mountain in 2012. Are the species on top of the mountain relicts of animals and plants that used to live in the lowlands and valleys? Or are they young, recent evolutionary offshoots from lowland species adapting to the colder climate at the top? The results of the research are published in the high impact journal Nature.

The researchers collected a great variety of organisms: from snails, fungi and carnivorous plants to jumping spiders, stalk-eyed flies and reptiles, both from the summit and the foot of the mountain. All species were taken back home to Leiden to be analyzed in the DNA lab to unravel their evolution.

The researchers showed that most of the species that occur on the mountain are younger than the mountain itself. They also demonstrated that the endemic biodiversity consists of two groups. Some of the unique species drifted in from other areas such as the Himalayas or China, which were already adapted to a cool environment. The other endemic species evolved from local species that occurred at the foot of the mountain and gradually crept up the mountain where they adapted to the cooler conditions.

This is important for the protection of the endemic species on this and other mountains.. The unique species that evolved on the summit are often related to species that were already adapted to a cooler climate. Therefore it is likely that they are not very well able to adapt to climate change.

At the conclusion of a large scale expedition on the island of Borneo, researchers of the Malaysian nature conservation organization Sabah Parks and Naturalis Biodiversity Center in The Netherlands collected some 3500 DNA samples of more than 1400 species. Among these are approximately 160 species new to science: here.