Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hymenoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Mining and Burrowing Bees.

Adults small to medium sized; 5–13 mm long. Social insects forming organized communities, or solitary insects; the adult populations including specialised, sterile females constituting ‘workers’, or comprising males and fertile females only.

Head. Antennal segments (10–)12 (females), or (10–)13 (males). Tongue shorter than the prementum; pointed. Labial palps with all the segments similar in length and subcylindrical. Mentum and submentum more or less absent.

Thorax. Thorax black or yellow. Pronotum more or less straight at the back; short, not extending back to the tegulae. Cenchri absent. Wings present. Fore-wings with a conspicuous pterostigma to without a pterostigma; with the venation well developed. Closed fore-wing cells 6–10. Submarginal cells 2, or 3. Discoidal cells 2. The basal forewing vein (BV) markedly arched. Hind-wings with closed cells. Hind femur without a well defined trochantellus. Hind tibiae with spurs specialised for a cleaning rôle. Hind basitarsi wider than the other segments.

Abdomen. The abdomen with a marked basal constriction; short-waisted. The ‘waist’ simple. Visible abdominal segments 6 (females), or 7 (males); not highly metallic. The gaster concolorous, or colour-patterned; when concolorous, black, yellow or orange; when patterned, black-and-orange, black-and-yellow or black-and-white. Ovipositor of females not visibly protruding; modified as a retractable sting.

Larvae. Larvae legless or the legs vestigial; socially parasitic on hosts selected by the mother and predacious (in the nests of other bees), or feeding on material manufactured by the adults.

British representation. Species in Britain about 60; Dufourea, Halictus, Lasioglossum, Rophites, Sphecodes.

Classification. Suborder Apocrita; Series Aculeata; Superfamily Apoidea.

Illustrations. • Lasioglossum tricingulum Curtis, = L. xanthopum (Long-tongued Melitta, and Halictus sp.: B. Ent. 448). • Lasioglossum tricingulum: B. Ent. 448, type generic description?). • Halictus sp.: B. Ent. 448, text cont.). • Sphecodes monilicornis, female (detail: Saunders XXIII). • Halictus, Sphecodes (Saunders XXIV). • 2 Halictus and 5 Lasioglossum species (Saunders XXV). • 7 Lasioglossum species (Saunders XXVI). • 2 Halictus and 3 Lasioglossum species (Saunders XXVII). • Dufourea vulgaris, Rophites quinquespinosus (Saunders XXXVI).

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hymenoptera. Version: 16th May 2016.’.