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4710 Views 8 Replies Last post: Sep 6, 2010 1:06 PM by bugwoman RSS
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Aug 5, 2010 7:09 PM

Help please to resolve a difference of opinion

Is the picture of a Black Honey Bee and, if not, what is it?
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    Aug 5, 2010 7:40 PM (in response to chriffer)
    Re: Help please to resolve a difference of opinion

    Looks like a denuded (hairless) Andrena cineraria, a solitary bee which is usually black and grey in appearance. If so would I be correct in assuming that it was taken much earlier in the year?

     

    See images on the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS) here: http://bwars.com/Andrena_cineraria.htm

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    Aug 8, 2010 9:53 AM (in response to chriffer)
    Re: Help please to resolve a difference of opinion

    I would say probably Andrena pilipes. This nests July-August (2nd generation)

     

    It's a scarce bee so it would be worth sending record details, including pic, to BWARS: http://www.bwars.com/Contact_BWARS.htm

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      Aug 26, 2010 1:47 PM (in response to norwegica)
      Re: Help please to resolve a difference of opinion
      Andrena pilipes is certainly present in reasonable numbers at Rainham and along the East Thames corridor. It's very similar to the rarer Andrena nigrospina - only the males are distinguishable. A. pilipes tends to be more coastal in distribution (although it has moved up the Thames as far as East London) and has 2 generations a year, whereas A. nigrospina is more likely to be found inland (but has also been recorded in the Rainham/Thurrock area) and has a single generation in spring/early summer. This is a female but given the date I'd agree with norwegica that it's going to be 2nd generation A. pilipes.
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    Sep 2, 2010 9:44 AM (in response to chriffer)
    Re: Help please to resolve a difference of opinion
    I posted the pic to BWARS and they are confident it is the Dark Form of the Melicta Albifrons.
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      Sep 4, 2010 11:45 AM (in response to Lynette Jones)
      Re: Help please to resolve a difference of opinion

      Melecta albifrons is a spring-flying bee, like its host Anthophora plumipes. Flight period March-June. Any M. albifrons in August would be very unusual, very old and very tatty, (if still alive!) - you certainly wouldn't find 5 at once!  I'm pretty certain this is Andrena pilipes, which, as I said, IS at Rainham (I live locally and see it there regularly) and will be found in reasonable numbers in July/August. Compare it with the photo on the BWARS website:

      http://www.bwars.com/Andrena_pilipes.htm

      It's an all black bee with noticeable white hairs on the hind tibiae of the female. This species is large for an Andrena. Melecta albifrons typically has white patches on the upper surface of the mid tibiae, although these are not obvious in the dark form. Both very pretty bees that I'm always pleased to see!

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        Sep 4, 2010 6:38 PM (in response to bugwoman)
        Re: Help please to resolve a difference of opinion
        BWARS seemed quite certain. Melecta was my opinion to Chris initially before sending to BWARS. The Pilipes doesn't seem to have the same amount of hair around the head as does the Melecta. The Dark form of Melecta doesn't have as much of the Tibial white hair as the common form, but under closer view it does appear on the off-side to have a small amount, and also on the front knee area. I have posted the photo again to the Chairman and he is unable to confirm, his response was "looks good for Melecta"  Will give it more time to see if anyone else can I.D but as yet that's the only response from BWARS i'm getting and i'm sure if BWARS don't know then no one will.
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        • Sorry Lynette, we seem to be at slightly cross-purposes! Your photo posted to the BWARS group does have a look of Melecta about it, but Chris's above is much more like A. pilipes (the tibial hairs really are distinctly different from those on Melecta - I've checked all my specimens), so we could well be looking at 2 different bees that are superficially similar in the field, being roughly the same size. It just shows the pitfalls in trying to identify bees from photos! If you had the actual specimen, you could take it to the Angela Marmont Centre at the museum to compare it with the relevant species in their synoptic collection. I've had a quick look through the BWARS database (I'm on the committee) and there do seem to be a couple of records of Melecta albifrons in August, but they are unusual. If you look at the Essex Field Club website you can see the county distribution of both species and read a bit more about them. Peter Harvey manages the website and it was he who first showed Andrena pilipes to me at Rainham several years ago. You also find a lot of them at East Tilbury.

          Best wishes, Claudia

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