Stingless Thai bees sipping tears from the eye of Hans Bänziger. Bänziger first noticed the behavior in stingless bees while working at the tops of Thai trees. Strangely, he observed, two species of Lisotrigona bees bugged his eyes — but never landed on the trees’ blooms. Back at ground level, those bees still preferred visiting his eyes, not flowers. In general, these bees first size up the eyes as they fly about the head, them home in on their target. After landing on the lashes and grabbing hold to keep from falling off, a bee crawls toward the eye. There it plunges its straw-like mouthpiece — or proboscis — into the gutter-like trough between the lower lid and eyeball. In rare cases a foreleg was placed onto the eye ball, and in one case the bee even climbed onto it with all legs.
Photo credit: Hans Bänziger