The Augochloropsis anonyma looks like a weird bee. It's got that familiar bee shape—tilted abdomen, oblong eyes—but its body fuzz is white, instead of yellow; its eyes are white; and its skin is iridescent jade-aqua-blue-purple. It has all the colors of an oil puddle in the sun.
Yet the real weirdos are our familiar yellow-and-black honeybees, says U.S. Geological Survey biologist Sam Droege. The Augochloropsis is one of 4,000 bee species native to the U.S. Honeybees, on the other hand, are more recent settlers that European farmers brought to America in the 1600s. Surveys done in the past few years have found that both types of bees contribute to pollinating U.S. crops, with native bees playing an especially important role for American plants such as pumpkins, blueberries and tomatoes.