Anthophora bimaculata (Panzer,1798)


Apis rotundata PANZER 1798; Anthophora saropoda LAMARCK 1817; Anthophora squalida LEPELETIER 1841

Description and notes

Both sexes can be identified by their yellow-marked faces and shrill hum. The male has pale green eyes in life, though this is a purely ephemeral character, the eyes becoming brownish-black after death.


Southern England and the Channel Islands (Sark). The species is widely distributed throughout much of Europe, from southern Fennoscandia to Spain, eastwards to at least Italy. However, this bee belongs to a group of species (sometimes placed in the genus Heliophila) which, in the western Palaearctic, closely resemble one another and are sometimes difficult to identify. A. bimaculata is the only representative of the group which occurs in Britain.

Status (in Britain only)

The bee is not regarded as being scarce or threatened.


Associated particularly with light sandy soils and, as such, is generally to be encountered inland on lowland heaths and commons, and on coastal dunes and landslips. Sometimes abundant where found, particularly in the vicinity of its nesting sites.

Flight period

Univoltine; late June to mid September.

Pollen collected

Polylectic (Westrich 1989). Viper's-bugloss (Echium vulgare) is a known pollen source. Pawlikowski & Kruszynski (1997) list viper's-bugloss (Echium vulgare), knapweed (Centaurea rhenana); rosebay willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium), cinquefoil (Potentilla arenaria) as forage sources in Poland.

Nesting biology

Nests usually occur in dense aggregations, often in exposed soil in either level surfaces or, more especially, slopes and cliff faces.

Flowers visited

Bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.), burdock (Arctium sp.), common fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), common knapweed (Centaurea nigra), dead-nettle (Lamium sp.), gypsywort (Lycopus europaeus), hawk's-beard (Crepis capillaris), hawkweed (Hieracium sp.), heaths (Erica sp.), privet (Ligustrum sp.), ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), sea bindweed (Calystegia soldanella), sea-lavender (Limonium sp,), spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare), thyme (Thymus sp.), viper's-bugloss (Echium vulgare), willowherb (Epilobium sp.) and wood sage (Teucrium scorodonia).


The cleptoparasitic bee Coelioxys rufescens has been reared from cells of A. bimaculata (F. Smith 1845) and is sometimes noted about nesting aggregations of the same species (pers. obs.). In Dorset, C. elongata has also been observed investigating nest burrows of the same host (G M Spooner, pers. comm.).

Author of profile

G R Else.

Year profile last updated


Proofed: January 2012

Citing this page 

Bees, Wasps & Ants Recording Society, 2013. Anthophora bimaculata.[Accessed Date (style 1st January 2013)]