I found this spectacular creature lying on the street in the La Madera neighborhood here in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico. At first, I had no idea what it was—I wanted to call it a lion bee for its golden, hairy mane and legs. (My friend Wil, a great tour guide and naturalist here, has since told me it's a carpenter bee, newly emerged from its pupa stage.)
When I bent over to take this photo, I couldn't tell if the thing was alive, but as my lens got close to it, it turned and came
charging at me. Alive it was, but still not quite ready to try its surprisingly small wings.
I'm so glad I got to see one of these carpenter bees at this stage, because they're beautiful! Wil says they turn all black within a couple hours of hatching, and that, despite its Davidian grit, it has no stinger and is harmless.
While I was shooting, this boy came riding past on his bike and noticed me kneeling down. He stopped and gently nudged the insect onto this dried leaf to give us a closer view.
I was concerned the kid might feel he could best help us by stepping on it, but I found he's a real Nature lover—a kindred spirit. I found that really encouraging!
The bee eventually flew away to blacken, unmolested, in the safety of a bush.