Arkansas State Insect
European Honeybee (common name)
Apis mellifera (scientific name)
Honeybees are one of the most common insects in the world. They are extremely important in agriculture for their ability to pollinate plants and also contribute to the economy in terms of honey and beeswax. The honeybee was named the state insect of Kansas (in 1976), Louisiana (1977), Maine (1975), Missouri (1985), Nebraska (1975), New Jersey (1974), Utah (1983), and Wisconsin (1977).
Honeybees have compound eyes comprised of hundreds of smaller eyes called ommatidia. Worker bees are 0.37–0.62 inches (9–18 mm) in length and have a pollen basket on their hind legs, four pairs of beeswax-secreting glands on their abdomen, and an extra stomach for storing nectar and honey. Only females have stingers that they use when threatened. Worker stingers can be used only once, unlike those of queen bees. Worker bees are golden brown and black in color with a black head and patches of pale orange. Their abdomens and wings are covered with yellow bands and their entire bodies are covered with tiny hairs. Queen bees are much larger (0.75 inches or 20mm) than other bees and have a longer abdomen.
Larvae: Eggs hatch after three days into a white larva. After another six days they become pupae.
The queen bee lives as long as five years. Drones live for eight weeks. Worker bees born in summer live for around six weeks, and those born during the fall live until the next spring.
Range: Honeybees are found all over the world except Antarctica.
Flight period: Most active during spring and summer.
Conservation status: Least concern
Honeybees are very social in nature and exist in a very structured social system that has three specialized groups: the queens, the drones, and the workers. Each of these "castes" has their own function. The queen’s main function is to lay eggs, and she can lay more than 1,500 eggs per day. Drones exist only to mate with the queen bee and either die or are driven away at the end of the season. Worker bees take care of building and maintaining the hive and honey comb and also take care of the queen and defend the hive.
Older workers, also known as field bees, gather nectar, water, pollen and plant resins that are used to build hives. Once the bee colony gets a new queen, it subdivides in a process known as "swarming," during which the old queen moves out with half of the bees to build a new colony. Honeybees are not usually aggressive, but they react when their hive is under attack. Eggs have to be incubated at 94 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius), and the bees maintain this temperature by depositing water and fanning the hive with their wings during hot weather. In winter, they cluster close together to generate heat.
Adults: Flower nectar and pollen form the main diet for honeybees.
Larvae: Young queen bees are fed a special jelly that is made using glands in the heads of the worker bees. Only bees that are fed this special "royal jelly" develop into queens.
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|Author: World Trade Press|
Arkansas State Butterfly
Diana Fritillary (common name)
Speyeria diana (scientific name)
The Diana fritillary butterfly was designated the official butterfly of Arkansas in 2007. Male Diana fritillary butterflies are dark brown with orange markings. Females are larger, and their coloring is dramatically different from the males (black with bright blue markings and white spots). Diana fritillary butterflies can be found in the moist mountain areas of Arkansas, feeding on flower nectar in the summer months.
The Diana fritillary is a dimorphic butterfly found in several wooded areas in southern and eastern North America (primarily in the Arkansas River valley, several counties in South Carolina, and spots along the Appalachian mountain range). Males of the species exhibit an orange color on the edges of their wings, with a burnt orange underwing that does not have the typical silver scales found in most fritillary species. The female is dark blue, with a dark, almost dusty underwing and is much larger than the male.
Wingspan: 3 7/16–4 7/16 in (8.7–11.3 cm).
Larvae: Males are blackish-brown with orange markings; the larger females are black with iridescent blue.
Adults: Four to five months
Deciduous and pine woodlands near streams and the edges and openings in moist, rich mountain forests. They will also use pastures, shrublands, and fields for nectaring but will only breed if there is a suitable forest margin. Larval host plants are various species of violets.
Range: Maryland and western Pennsylvania west to southern Illinois and eastern Oklahoma, south to northern Louisiana, northern Georgia, and the Carolinas.
Flight period: Mid-June to September
Conservation status: Diana Fritillary is widespread, its populations are scattered within that range and fluctuate greatly between years. It appears most secure in the southern Appalachians and Arkansas-Missouri, but threats are present range-wide.
Diana’s are unique in that they do not lay eggs directly on the host plant, instead scattering the eggs around the plant.
Adults: Nectar from many species of flowers including milkweeds, thistles, ironweed, dogbane, mountain laurel, verbena, vetch, bergamot, red clover, joe-pye weed, and purple coneflower. Males will also drink fluids from dung.
Larvae: Larval host plants are various species of violets.
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|Author: World Trade Press|