Melecta albifrons (Forster,1771)

Synonyms

Melecta punctata (FABRICIUS 1775); Melecta armata PANZER 1799; Melecta gigantea FRIESE 1925; Melecta grandis PÉREZ 1883; Melecta pseudoarmata RADOSZKOWSKI 1893; Melecta mediterranea GRIBODO; Melecta novellai DUSMET 1915; Melecta minima FRIESE 1925; Melecta fasciculata SPINOLA 1806; Crocisa atra  JURINE 1806; Melecta bipunctata LEPELETIER 1841; Melecta aterrima LEPELETIER 1841; Melecta calabrina RADOSZKOWSKI 1876

Description and notes

An unmistakable spring bee, with the head and body entirely black except for a pair of lateral patches of white appressed hairs on most of the gastral tergites. However, in some individuals, these patches are also black, so that the bee is entirely melanic.

  • Photo by Brian Valentine
    Male
  • Photo by Nick Owens
    Melecta albifrons female at nest hole of Anthophora plumipes, Weybourne, Norfolk, April 2010
  • Photo by Steven Falk
    Melecta albifrons. Avon Hill, Warwickshire
  • Photo by Jeremy Early
    Female Melecta albifrons outside Anthophora plumipes nest, Reigate, Surrey
  • Photo by Brian Valentine
    Male
  • Photo by Nick Owens
    Melecta albifrons female at nest hole of Anthophora plumipes, Weybourne, Norfolk, April 2011
  • Photo by Steven Falk
    Melecta albifrons. Avon Hill, Warwickshire
  • Photo by Jeremy Early
    Male Melecta albifrons, Reigate, Surrey
  • Photo by Debbie Allan
    Dark form of female. 24th April 2008, Gosport, Hampshire, Grid ref: SU607007
  • Photo by Nick Owens
    Melecta albifrons female at nest hole of Anthophora plumipes, Weybourne, Norfolk,May 2010
  Pre 1980   1980-99   2000 and later

The following datasets are included:

  • Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society - Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society - Trial Dataset

Distribution

Throughout much of southern England, with an apparent bias towards the south-east. There is at least one old record for south Wales. It is also found in the Channel Islands (Guernsey and Jersey). The species is widely distributed in Eurasia, from Britain south to Iberia and North Africa (Morocco to Egypt), and eastwards to the Middle East, Armenia and Iran.

Status (in Britain only)

This species is not regarded as being scarce or threatened.

Habitat

The bee can be expected to occur in the same sites as its two Anthophora host species, including coastal localities (especially soft rock cliffs) and private gardens (sometimes in large cities, including London). Usually it is rather scarce.

Flight period

Univoltine; April to early June.

Pollen collected

This species does not collect pollen.

Flowers visited

Apple (Malus), cabbage (Brassica sp.), cherry (Prunus sp.), ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea), kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), wallflower (Cheiranthus) (and some other Brassicaceae).

Parasites

None recorded.

Author of profile

G R Else.

Year profile last updated

Proofed: December 2011