Bulletin 34 - March 1988: Hymenoptera 1987

Hymenoptera 1987

by Ian Hamer

1987 proved to be another very good year for the collection of the Hymenoptera Aculeata. General collecting throughout the year yielded some interesting and unexpected captives while an intensive three weeks during the end of March and early April provided several new species to the UAE list with a significant number believed to be new to science.

The winter rains were obviously responsible for the successful collecting with a proliferation of vegetation in the spring. However, these rains were a mixed blessing as the collapse of the dam at Shwayb and the resultant torrent wiped out one of the best collecting sites in the UAE. Many insects, together with their larvae, must have been destroyed by the deluge. Of the specimens collected, all have been forwarded to Hymenopterists in the UK and a sizeable batch has already been returned fully identified. Of the remainder, many specimens have been sent to specialists throughout the world for further study.

In Abu Dhabi town, Apis florea F. (the small Asiatic honey bee) continues to flourish with regular reports of colonies being made. I have attempted to persuade hosts to leave the colonies where possible and subsequently have only been called on to move a small number residing in the more unacceptable spots.

During a recent collecting trip by the Mushrif Palace, a polistes species was taken. This was unusual as the species had only been recorded previously in the mountains and wadis in Al Ain and the Northern Emirates (although unconfirmed sightings by unreliable sources have been made for their presence in Dubai). Confirmation of established colonies of this social wasp in Abu Dhabi would be of great interest.

It was stated in last year's report that contact had been made with a Dutch entomologist with a view to identifying the UAE Diptera. A large batch was sent to him around the middle of the year but as yet no reply has been received.

For the coming year, as in previous years, priority will be given to collecting in as many varied locations as possible with a view to increasing our knowledge of the distribution of bees and wasps in the UAE. Material will continue to be forwarded to the relevant specialists for identification and study. It is also hoped to widen our contacts for the identification of other Orders and a tentative contact has already been made concerning the Hymenoptera Parasiticai this will be pursued towards the middle of the year.


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