Page:Jardine Naturalist's library Bees.djvu/256

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254
HUMBLE-BEES.

rated,) the latter clothed with reddish yellow or golden coloured hairs; abdomen triangular, the hirsuties fulvous; wings slightly tinged with brown,, the nervures black ; legs likewise black, the thighs densely bearded with yellow hairs. The abdomen of the male is narrower than that of the female, and has some dark coloured down at the extremity. Varies in size, and in having the hirsuties of the thorax dark brown, or so pale, as to approach cinereous; the latter hue sometimes occasioned by age.

Of frequent occurrence in all the temperate regions of Europe. It is known in Scotland as the Foggie or Moss-bee. Its nest is quite upon the surface, and, consisting merely of a little dome of moss, it falls an easy prey to every kind of marauder. The following is Reaumur's account, as abridged by Kirby, of its plan of operations; but he seems either to overlook the fact, that at the usual period of forming the nest, the female is the sole architect and practical builder, or his description applies to the formation of the nest at a more advanced period of the season, after the original one may have been by some means destroyed, and when the population has multiplied. After stating that they cover their dwelling with a thick vault or coping of moss, he continues: "The mode in which they transport the moss they use is singular. When they have discovered a parcel of it conveniently situated, they place themselves upon it with their anus towards the spot to which they mean to convey it. They then take a small portion, and with their maxillæ and forelegs, as it were card and