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The Nature Table

I didn't know where to put this so I'm starting a new thread that anyone can add to with any interesting natural history stuff that they want to share.
I'll post the photo first and the details after just in case anyone wants to play guess the mystery object. These two things are about 25mm long (one inch) and about 13mm wide (half an inch), hollow and made of stone.
I found these while on holiday in Fuerteventura in 2013. There was a group of them in among the sand dunes, mostly broken into bits, but I managed to find these two intact. I couldn't work out what they were but they looked like a type of insect nest made of mud. They clink together like terracotta so I assumed that they'd been baked in the sun to make them rock hard. I couldn't find anything about them anywhere so they've been sat on my shelf ever since as a curiosity. That was until yesterday when I was looking for something else on the internet and came across a reference to fossilised weevil nests in Australia. These were clearly different but it gave me something to go on. Eventually I discovered that these are fossilised bee nests from a solitary bee that lived between 10,000-30,000 years ago. I've put a red mason bee cocoon in front for scale. The nest would have been loaded with food but I assume this was from a much bigger bee.
What's also interesting, to me at least, is that the one on the right looks like it pupated but the one on the left has the end cap intact but has holes punched into the sides. This probably means that the nest was predated or attacked by a parasitic insect of some kind.
Details here if anyone is into this kind of thing.
Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people


  • FireFire Posts: 17,374
    Fascinating. Thanks for posting.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,988
    Fabulous @wild edges
    It's the sort of thing that gets overlooked isn't it? Nature is eternally fascinating.
    I posted a pic yesterday of the wasp's nest [wildlife thread?] I have round in the bee house behind the shed. They get such a bad press, but are quite remarkable.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • @wild edges Ditto and thanks.  Forget "Journeys into Space" when we are still able to make new discoveries here  :)

  • FireFire Posts: 17,374
    Please can we forget journeys into space until we have sorted out this planet first. :s
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,119
    Wondrous @wild edges … thank you. 😊 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 1,240
    Hello @wild edges,

    As soon as I saw your photo I thought of the queen cells we see in our honeybee hives.

    The queen will emerge by cutting the the end off her cell, rather like your one on the right.
    If there is more than one queen cell in a hive, the first queen to come out will then go around trying to kill the other queens (her rivals) before they emerge. 
    Queen cells that are opened on the side indicate that a virgin queen was likely killed by a rival queen. So their cell would look like your one on the left.
    Unlike the worker bees, a queen's stinger is not barbed and she is able to sting repeatedly without dying .... ruthless eh!

    Nice idea for a new thread 

    Bee x

    Gardener and beekeeper in beautiful Scottish Borders  

    A single bee creates just one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,909
    wow. I wish I had something like that to share
    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 1,240
    They are just fabulous @Ergates .... they just don't look real.

    Bee x
    Gardener and beekeeper in beautiful Scottish Borders  

    A single bee creates just one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime
  • ErgatesErgates Posts: 2,418
    I thought at first that they were little wooden ornaments that someone had dropped passing the drive. Proper little miracles of nature!
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