Orchid bees (sometimes referred to as Euglossine bees) are characterized by their very long tongues and by a unique behavior of males. The males collect scents (fragrances) from all sorts of fragrant objects, including flowers, dead wood, and feces and store them in their modified hind legs. That behavior is exploited by a great variety of Neotropical orchids that attract Euglossines as their exclusive pollinators. Here is a close up of one of the Metallic bees.
When Euglossine male bees visit the perfume orchids they are not looking for pollen or nectar, or other food rewards, they are interested in perfuming themselves. Euglossine bees collect volatile floral fragrances with the capillary brushes of the front leg. Collected chemicals are then stored in spongy organs in the hind legs and then used as sexual perfumes during their courtship. Here is a picture with a couple of them swarming around the orchid at Caves Branch Botanical Gardens. Guess which one has pollen attached?
The one on the very bottom, if you look closely you can see the pollen on its back. They came to pollinate this orchid and to collect the perfume from it. Nature is the most beautiful part of Belize. You can see it for yourself by taking one or more Belize eco tours
that highlight the wonders of the Belize jungle and nature. You will definitely enjoy these on your vacation, some of these tours are quite easy, such as birding in Belize
, but others are more strenuous