Sphecodes ephippius (Linnaeus,1767)

Synonyms

Apis fulviventris SCOPOLI 1763; Apis minimus HARRIS 1776; Apis obscura GEOFFROY 1785; Apis rufescens GEOFFROY 1785; Apis rufescens GMELIN 1790; Apis labiata FABRICIUS 1793; Melitta divisa KIRBY 1802; Andrena minuta FABRICIUS 1804; Sphecodes similis  WESMAEL 1836; Sphecodes zablocki BLÜTHGEN 1923 

 

Distribution

Widespread in southern Britain, being found from the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall to Kent, north to Yorkshire and Cumbria. Also known from Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. It is not presently known from Ireland.

This is a Palaearctic species, found in south and central Europe east across Asia to Mongolia and south to North Africa (S Roberts pers. comm.).

Status (in Britain only)

This species is not regarded as scarce or threatened.

Habitat

Occurring in a range of habitats, such as open woodland, heaths, calcareous grassland and coastal sites.

Flight period

Univoltine; the female flies from late March to late September and the male from mid July to early October.

Pollen collected

As this bee is cleptoparasitic, no pollen is collected.

Nesting biology

The species is probably a cleptoparasite of several species of Lasioglossum, including the common species calceatum (Scopoli), lativentre (Schenck) and leucozonium (Schrank). Less common Lasioglossum and also Halictus species can be used. Occasionally Andrena such as chrysosceles (Kirby) have been implicated as hosts. It appears that the parasitic behaviour has not been observed in any detail and there are no rearing records in the literature.

Flowers visited

This Sphecodes visits various flowers with shallow corollas for nectar only; particularly noted are the families Asteraceae, Apiaceae and Fabaceae.

Parasites

No data available.

Author of profile

G W Allen.

Year profile last updated

2016