Andrena hattorfiana (Fabricius, 1775)


Andrena lathamana Kirby, 1802.

Description and notes

A large, attractive mining bee which occurs in two colour forms, more noticeably in females than in males. In females the most frequent form has a largely black gaster, whereas in the other form, tergites 1-2 (occasionally 3) and sternite 2 are conspicuously marked with red (figured by Westrich (1989)). Males usually have black gasters, though in some, tergites 1-3 are posteriorly marked with red. Andrena hattorfiana, in common with A. marginata Fabricius, is strongly associated with scabious flowers and both bees may occur together in the same locality.


Very local but widely distributed in southern England and south Wales. Generally encountered only in small numbers, but occasionally (as in some sites on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire) the species is quite numerous. The presence of scabious (especially field scabious, Knautia arvensis) is a necessary requirement. Not recorded from Ireland. In Europe, found from southern Fennoscandia to the south of France and east to the Caucasus. There is also a record from north Africa.

Status (in Britain only)

Listed in the Red Data Book as Vulnerable (RDB2) (Shirt, 1987), a status provisionally downgraded to Rare (pRDB3) by Falk (1991). This status may need to be reviewed.


Open grassland, mainly on calcareous and sandy soils, both inland and coastal (e.g. fixed dunes). In addition, it occurs on broad roadside verges. In Devon, it has been found at 300 m on Dartmoor (Perkins, 1924).

Flight period

Univoltine; late June to mid August.

Pollen collected

The female mainly forages from the flowers of field scabious (Knautia arvensis - the pollen load being a characteristic salmon-pink colour) and occasionally small scabious (Scabiosa columbaria). Rarely, females have been observed collecting pollen from knapweed (Centaurea spp., G R Else, pers. obs.).

Nesting biology

Nest burrows are excavated singly or in small aggregations, both in open sites and hidden amongst low vegetation (Hamm, 1901; Perkins, 1919; Else & Roberts, 1994). The males often fly rapidly around scabious flowers without alighting, presumably in search of females.

Flowers visited

E C M Haes (pers. comm.) has recently studied the bee at two coastal sites in West Cornwall and observed it visiting the following flowers for nectar: rough chervil (Chaerophyllum tenulum), ground-elder (Aegopodium podagraria), hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) , common centaury (Centaurium erythraea), field scabious (Knautia arvensis), musk thistle (Carduus nutans), creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense), lesser hawkbit (Leontodon saxatilis), bristly oxtongue (Picris echioides) and common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea). Other species visited include white clover (Trifolium repens), wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), small scabious (Scabiosa columbaria), greater knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa) and smooth hawk's-beard (Crepis capillaris). Males have a marked preference for field scabious flowers.


The rare Nomada armata Herrich-Schäffer is the special cleptoparasite of this species of Andrena (Hamm, 1901; Perkins, 1919; Westrich, 1989).

Author of profile

G R Else.

Year profile last updated