Creature Critique

Re: and

    I always enjoy Wayne Bierbaum’s Creature Feature columns.
    But, in reference to his August 15 column on cicadas, Late Summer’s Orchestra, there are three 17-year Magicicada spp, and three 13-year spp. Maryland hosts four broods: II, V, X and XIX.
    In Maryland’s Brood X, the big brood, we have all three 17-year spp: M. septendecim, M. cassini and M. septendecula.
    In addition, at the tip of lower St. Mary’s County, there is a population of 13-year Magicicada tridecim. My colleague, John Zyla, has spent many, many years studying these lovely creatures in our state. []
    Also, the photo in Aug. 29’s article, The Buzz on Bumblebees, appears to actually show an eastern carpenter bee (Xylocopa virginica [Apidae subfamily Xylocopinae]) not a bumblebee (Bombus sp [Apidae subfamily Apinae]). They have very different biologies, although both are known to cheat flowers. Note the hairless abdomen of Xylocopa, while Bombus are teddy bears.
–Gaye Williams, via email

Editor’s note: Gaye Williams is an entomologist with the Maryland Department of Agriculture.