Hymenoptera Apoidea Apidae Xylocopinae Allodapini

Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:00 pm

Tribe Allodapini (Allodapine Bees)
The Allodapini are small carpenter bees, but are often called allodapine bees. Most Allodapini are rather slender andreniform to hylaeiform bees superficially resembling Ceratina except that the cuticle is soft and delicately sculptured. The pubescence is short and inconspicuous. The most obvious tribal character is the presence of only two submarginal cells (rarely one), the second usually not much over half as long as the first. The clypeus is rather flat. They are not strongly sclerotized and are black, reddish or yellowish.
This tribe comprises nine African genera; Allodape, Allodapula, Braunsapis, Hasinamelissa, Macrogalea and Compsomelissa, possibly all have both pollen collecting bees and social parasites. Effractapis, Eucondylops and Nasutapis are parasitic. The greatest diversity of allodapine bees is in Africa and Madagascar, but they also occur in Asia and Australia. The two submarginal cells in the forewing give a good first indication of an allodapine bee.

Biology
Nest in hollow stems. Unlike Xylocopa and Ceratina, they mostly do not have separate cells in their nests. Most species feed their larvae progressively. Arrangement of larvae and pupae within the nest varies according to genus. In Braunsapis and Allodape, the youngest larvae are at the bottom of the stem and the oldest above. Adults place food provisions on the venter of each larva. In Allodapula, the larvae are clustered together in a clump and feed from a common food mass. They may be simple subsocial species (each nest containing only a single bee with other adults rare) to nests that contain two or more adult females. Weak polymorphism is usually present. Workers do most of the foraging, while queens do not forage if workers are present. Workers usually do not mate.

Links: The Bees of the World. Charles Duncan Michener; Wasp Web

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Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:16 pm

Genus Allodapula

Allodapula is a genus of bees in the family Apidae, subfamily Xylocopinae. They are similar in appearance, around 7 mm in length, with swarthy head and thorax, contrasting with the brown abdomen. Allodapula has the sides of the last metasomal tergum curved strongly under, and the dorsal surface gently concave. They are mostly black with a reddish metasoma; a few species are completely black. They are small and shiny and most Allodapula bee species have a dark head and thorax, with an orange abdomen.
The subgenera are difficult to identify, as they are based on male genitalia, and it is possibly easier to identify them to species.
Subgenus Allodapula (Allodapula) Cockerell: These are southern African and common. Apparently it comprises eight pollen collecting species and one social parasite, Allodapula guillarmodi .
Subgenus Allodapula (Allodapulodes) Michener: Allodapula (Allodapulodes) are more robust than Allodapula (Allodapula) and are endemic to the Cape Province of South Africa. There are five species.
Subgenus Allodapula (Dalloapula) Michener: Allodapula (Dalloapula) comprises two species, both of which are endemic to South Africa.

Distribution
South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe. They are mostly southern African. After the removal of a number of former species into other genera, the genus as presently defined occurs only in Africa.

Habitat
Allodapula bees can be found in various habitats, such as grasslands, natural forests, wetlands, marshlands, open habitats, protected areas, woodlands, forest plantations and riparian areas.

Biology
The Allodapula bee feeds on polen and nectar.
Nest in hollow stems. Most species feed their larvae progressively. Arrangement of larvae and pupae within the nest varies according to genus. In Allodapula, the larvae are clustered together in a clump and feed from a common food mass.

Ecological Impact
Allodapula bees are a group of bee species that do not produce honey but are likely to be important pollinators of crops and wild plants. Different bee genera pollinate different plant species, although there is some overlap that acts as a buffer as bee populations wax and wane. For healthy ecosystems, including agro-ecosystems both diversity and abundance in the bee fauna is important. Allodapula are efficient pollinators of crops such as beans, cowpeas and simsim (sesame).

Links: A taxonomic study of African allodapine bees (Hymenoptera, Anthophoridae, Ceratinini). Michener, Charles Duncan; Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths, Alan Weaving: Field Guide to Insects of South Africa; Susan W. Nicolson: Water homeostasis in bees, with the emphasis on sociality

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Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:31 pm

Carpenter Bee sp. Allodapula variegata
Family: Apidae. Subfamily: Xylocopinae. Tribe: Allodapini

Image © BluTuna
Garden in Johannesburg

Description
Small (body length 7 mm), black with yellow markings and white hairs around last part of the thorax. Abdomen reddish brown, last 3 segments with flattened whitish hairs. Legs black and reddish brown with distinct brushes of hairs on hind legs.

Distribution
South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe.

Habitat
Vegetation suitable for nesting. It prefers lower altitudes.

Biology
Subsocial. Excavates cavities in dry pithy and soft woody stems and herbaceous plants. There being no cells in nests. Several larvae are reared together and fed regurgitated pollen and nectar. Uses end of abdomen to block nest entrance against intruders.

Links: WaspWeb; Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths, Alan Weaving: Field Guide to Insects of South Africa; Susan W. Nicolson: Water homeostasis in bees, with the emphasis on sociality


Image © BluTuna

This Allodapula variegata has a water droplet at its mouth, which is referred to as "bubbling", or "tongue-lashing". The purpose of this is for water homeostasis or regulation. Manipulation of nectar or water on the tongue is extensively used by a variety of bees to increase evaporation for either nectar concentrating or cooling purposes.
After drinking the dilute nectar of Aloe arborescens, female allodapine bees, Allodapula variegata and Braunsapis sp., concentrate it on the tongue by repeated regurgitation, evaporation and re-ingestion presumably before mixing it with pollen and feeding it to their larvae. Oral evaporation of excess water compensates for less than ideal nectar concentrations.

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Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:33 pm

Allopadine Bee Allodapula sp.
Family: Apidae Subfamily: Xtylocopinae. Tribe: Allodapini

Image © ExFmem
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape

Hymenoptera Apoidea Apidae Xylocopinae Xylocopini

Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:19 pm

Tribe Xylocopini (Large Carpenter Bees)

This tribe comprises one Afrotropical genus, Xylocopa, commonly known as the large carpenter bees. They are all pollen collectors. They all separate their cells with partitions made of wood shavings. They are mostly large, among the biggest bees in Africa. These hairy bees are usually larger than the honey bee in size and their wings make a buzzing sound while flying. Xylocopa bees are a bee species that do not produce honey but are important pollinators of crops and wild plants. Male and female individuals have different coloration.

Xylocopa consists of about 469 species in 31–51 subgenera, depending on the classification that is followed. Xylocopa is distributed over most continents, predominantly in tropical and subtropical climates and occasionally in temperate areas. Most of the subgenera have restricted distributions that do not cross boundaries of the world’s main zoogeographical regions.

Biology
Carpenter bees bore tunnels into wood to construct a nest, which they provision with a mixture of pollen and nectar sculptured into an elongate shape. This acts as a food source for their developing larvae. A number of partitions (each containing a single larva) may be constructed within the tunnel, the partitions are made out of chewed wood.

Links: WaspWeb; Atlas Hymenoptera

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Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:59 pm

Carpenter Bee Xylocopa caffra (Houtkapperby)
Family: Apidae. Subfamily: Xtylocopinae. Tribe: Xylocopini

Image © BluTuna
Male

Image © BluTuna
Male

Image © BluTuna
Male

Image © BluTuna
Female

Image © BluTuna
Female with white stripes

Description
Large (body length 20-24 mm), stout.
The females are black and hairy with two white or yellow bands over the hind thorax and first abdominal segment respectively, while the males are uniform greenish yellow in colour. Females with white bands are associated with dry climatic conditions during larval development, but females of either colour, or colour grade, may emerge from the same brood. In the Western Cape all have yellow bands however.

Distribution
Angola, Botswana, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Comoro Islands, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Habitat
The species is at home in various habitat types, from moist coastal settings to dry savannah, fynbos, succulent karoo.

Biology
The territorial males patrol small areas around particular plants or flowers. The females are solitary nesters in Aloe or Agave stems, tree branches or timber. The nests are partitioned into various cells, separated by walls of glued wood residue.
As with other carpenter bees, the larvae are fed a mixture of pollen and nectar. The females have a mutualistic association with phoretic mites that are transported from nest to nest in an abdominal chamber, called the acarinarium. The mites feed on nest fungi that may otherwise infest the nectar and pollen provisions of the larvae.
They are parasitized by various biota including Anthrax, Coelopencyrtus, Dinogamasus, Hyperechia, Physocephala, Sennertia and Synhoria.

Links: WaspWeb; Wikipedia, William H. Robinson: Urban Insects and Arachnids: A Handbook of Urban Entomology; Field Guide to Insects of South Africa. Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths, Alan Weaving

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Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:15 pm

Giant Carpenter Bee possibly Xylocopa flavorufa
Family: Apidae. Subfamily: Xylocopinae. Tribe: Xylocopini

Image © BluTuna

Image © BluTuna
Kruger National Park, Shingwedzi

Description
A noisy fast-flying solitary bee. A polymorphic species, one of the largest species. Shiny black, usually with a deep chestnut upper part of the thorax.

Distribution
Angola, Cameroun, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe.

Habitat
Coastal bush, montane savanna woodland, fynbos and dry savanna woodland.

Biology
Carpenter bees bore tunnels into wood to construct a nest, which they provision with a mixture of pollen and nectar sculptured into an elongate shape. This acts as a food source for their developing larvae. A number of partitions (each containing a single larva) may be constructed within the tunnel, the partitions are made out of chewed wood.

Links: Atlas Hymenoptera

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Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:15 pm

Carpenter Bee sp. Xylocopa inconstans
Family: Apidae. Subfamily: Xtylocopinae. Tribe: Xylocopini

Image © BluTuna
Female. Garden in Johannesburg

Description
A large species of Carpenter bee. 24 mm long.
The female is black, somewhat shiny and with black hairs. White belt(s) round the middle.
The nonstinging male is quite different in appearance being yellowish in colour.

Distribution
Sub-saharan Africa, in southern Africa found in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa.

Links: Atlas Hymenoptera

AW Insect Book: Sawflies, Wasps, Bees & Ants (Hymenoptera)

Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:43 pm

Carpenter Bee possibly Xylocopa scioensis
Family Apidae. Subfamily Xtylocopinae. Tribe Xylocopini

Image © BluTuna
Male, Garden in Johannesburg.

Image © BluTuna
Female, Garden in Johannesburg.


Xylocopa bees are a bee species that do not produce honey but are important pollinators of crops and wild plants. Male and female individuals have different coloration. The genus Xylocopa is a diverse, widely distributed group of solitary bees. Worldwide, there are about 500 species of carpenter bees representing 31 subgenera.

Description
These bees are similar to the large Carpenter Bees but are about half the size and have a more energetic flight pattern. Thorax totally varies from yellow to black. Tergite 1 with a yellow stripe. There is little information regarding this species available.

Distribution
Nigeria, Tchad, DRCongo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa.

Links: Atlas Hymenoptera

Image © BluTuna

Image © BluTuna

Hymenoptera, Apoidea, Halictidae

Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:44 pm

Family Halictidae
The Halictidae are a very large and nearly cosmopolitan family of the order Hymenoptera consisting of small to midsize bees. These bees are easy to identify because they are mostly metallic gold, or very pale green or blue. They are commonly referred to as sweat bees (especially the smaller species), as they are often attracted to perspiration; when pinched, females can give a minor sting. All species are pollen feeders and may be important pollinators.
Nests are typically underground burrows, with several ovoid ‘cells’ in which pollen mixed with nectar is provided as food for the developing larvae; a single egg is laid on a pollen mass, and the cell is sealed.
The Halictidae are short-tongued bees with one subantennal suture, a pointed glossa and a strongly curved basal vein in the forewing. Within the short-tongued
bees the shape of the basal vein is unique; some long-tongued bees have a weakly curved basal vein.
This is the largest family of short-tongued bees in the Afrotropical Region. It accounts for about one-third of all the Afrotropical bee species, and this family is
possibly the most abundant because many species occur in large numbers.
There are 16 genera and four subfamilies:
Subfamily Nomiinae
Subfamily Nomioidinae
Subfamily Halictinae
Subfamily Rophitinae