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Vein Patterns in Honey Bee Wings

Did you know that the vein patterns in their wings is one way that different species of bees can be identified?  Look at these two little cuties and notice how very similar the vein patterns are.  These two are Apis Mellifera, the european honey bee, sometimes also known as the common or western honey bee.

Their wings are made up of three layers.  The top and bottom layers are made of a transparent cuticle (similar to our fingernails, but very thin), and the middle layer contains nerves and blood vessels. (Honey bee blood is called hemolymph.)

Did you also know that this species of bee received its scientific name, Apis Mellifera, while it was still thought that the bees gathered honey?  "Apis" means "bee" and "Mellifera" means "honey-bearer" or "honey-gatherer."  A more accurate name, and one that would have been used if this bee had been named after humans better understood it, would be Apis Mellifica.  "Mellifica" means "honey-maker."


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