Legs- by Sarah Gabric


 Honey bees have 6 legs. Multi-jointed, their segments are named, from hip to toe: coxa, trochanter, femur, tibia, tarsus and pretarsus. Each pair of legs are equipped with unique appendages evolved to performs specific tasks. The front legs have a notched structure located in the joint between tibia and tarsus through which the bee pulls her antennae, squeegee-like, called the antennae cleaner. The middle legs boast a spur at the end of the tibia which may be vestigial but also may aid in spearing and manipulating wax flakes. The front and middle legs are used to collect pollen from the bee’s body and transport it to the hind legs. Here an efficient apparatus composed of rakes, called rastellum, scrape pollen and deposit it on a ledge, called the auricle, where when the bee bends the joint between the tibia and tarsus the pollen is pressed. The pollen is then pushed into the concave surface of the outer tibia where it is held in place by long curved hairs, this area is called the corbicula or colloquially the pollen baskets.

 Honey bees walk tripod-style, with 3 legs (the front and back of one side and the middle of the other) alternating in touching the surface, as they proceed. At the distal end of each leg is a pretarsus composed of 2 claws (one longer, one shorter) called ungues. Between the ungues is a soft extendable pad, called the arolium. It is this organ, the arolium, covered in minute hairs that act like suction cups, that allow honey bees to walk on vertical surfaces. Finally, the Arnhart gland, which produces a secretion know as footprint odor, is located and the scent released from the bottom-most area of the pretarsus.