Author Gary Taylor

Hylaeus mysterium puella… Sorry that’s not her real name, yes she is Hylaeus, but mysterium puella is just latin for mystery girl, which is what I called her ‘cos she was apparently quite possibly a new un-described species… perhaps in the sub genus Prosopisteron.

Hylaeus mysterium puella, Geraldton WA © Gary Taylor
Hylaeus mysterium puella, Geraldton WA © Gary Taylor

If I could have “collected” (caught and killed) her and sent her off for microscopic analysis and it turned out she was a new species I’d get to have a say in the name…

Hylaeus mysterium puella, Geraldton WA © Gary Taylor
Hylaeus mysterium puella, Geraldton WA © Gary Taylor

🙂 Now I know there’s a hell of a lot of you that just like me have loved nature for as long as we can remember, came home with bugs in our pockets, seen every Attenborough doco ever made several times (wanted to be just like him since I was 5 and he was still in black and white)… Getting to name a new species? Life long bucket list dream come true! But what do you do? To have something named after you, Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) Taylori would be really cool but I know I’d hate myself for being so pretentious and undescriptive… perhaps erythrofacieum, red face…

But! This was a few years ago, I’d just spent several hundred bucks on an instant native bee garden, it was getting into June and she was the only native bee around, I can’t kill her straight up…

Hylaeus mysterium puella, Geraldton WA © Gary Taylor
Hylaeus mysterium puella, Geraldton WA © Gary Taylor

“Don’t worry” I’m assured, “there will be plenty of others around…” yeah… will there? Maybee, but it’s the only one I’ve ever seen and it seems no one else has ever seen one either… She wouldn’t be hard to catch, she turns up every day at around the same time, starts on the rosemary flowers (first two pics) and when she feels safe she moves to the larger more open salvia (last three pics_), Fourth pic, the added bonus of salvia is when the flowers are young they come with seat belts for windy days…. 😀

Hylaeus mysterium puella, Geraldton WA © Gary Taylor
Hylaeus mysterium puella, Geraldton WA © Gary Taylor

So she’s clearly nesting nearby… Wouldn’t killing her now, and thus possibly all her potential offspring be kinda counterproductive? “But we can learn so much from a collected sample” Again undeniably true, but I reckon I can “learn” more by studying her in real life… And what if I kill her and never see one again… I’m gonna hate myself forever… Might be good for the science records but not so much for the beautiful little life you’re asking me to take…

So I couldn’t do it, and I’m glad I didn’t ‘cos I never did see one again… but at least it wasn’t because I personally caught and killed her for science and ego…

Hylaeus mysterium puella, Geraldton WA © Gary Taylor
Hylaeus mysterium puella, Geraldton WA © Gary Taylor

As a lover of museums since childhood, I do understand the importance of collecting specimens for scientific record and that in some cases it can even help the specimen in question… Letting her live was very selfish…

Geraldton, Midwest WA