Male bees use their midlegs to hold onto females while coupling. The legs also have brushes for grooming.

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Also known as the mesothoracic leg, the midleg is the second pair of legs on the thorax of the bee. Changes in the midlegs of the bees are often a secondary sexual characteristic, affecting male bees and influencing their chances of finding a mate.

Modified midlegs are often used to hold onto the female as the bee mates with her. Many species mate in midair, so the ability to stay coupled together is important. Midlegs can also contain different coloured brushes and keels used for grooming.

This information is also available from the University of Calgary Invertebrate collection, where it was curated as part of a study on design inspired by bees. 

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References

“In the Hylaeinae and Euryglossinae these [Midleg] brushes are weak and limited to the distal part of the tibia and the base of the femur (and sometimes the trochanter). These bees carry pollen to the nest in the crop, thus eating it rather than transferring it to a scopa. The midleg apparatus therefore probably serves only for grooming. The same is true of many male bees.” Michener, 2007:61

Book
The Bees of the World, Second Edition. Hopkins Fulfillment Service.Michener CD.

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Living System/s

Organism
BeesApidaeFamily

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