Sphecodes niger von Hagens,1874
Sphecodes gibbus ephippius niger SICHEL 1865; Sphecodes niger holomelaena BLÜTHGEN 1949;
Description and notes
A small, dark Sphecodes but otherwise rather similar in general appearance to the common S. geoffrellus.
A southern species, distributed from Devon to Kent and north to Buckinghamshire and Lincolnshire. The species appears to be widely distributed in central and southern Europe, extending south to Morocco (Falk 1991).
Status (in Britain only)
Listed as Rare (RDB3) in both Shirt (1987) and Falk (1991), currently increasing in range.
Often found on calcareous grassland but also known from soft-rock cliffs, heathland in the Brecks and other disturbed situations on light and heavy soils.
Early April to mid-October, frequently being found in August and September.
As this is a cleptoparasitic bee, no pollen is collected.
The bee has been found visiting Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) and Asteraceae (Falk 1991), and Pignut (Conopodium majus) (S P M Roberts, pers. comm.)
There are no known parasites of this species.
The putative host of this bee is Lasioglossum morio (Fabricus) and females of the parasite have been found about the nest sites of this small, metallic green mining bee. Unfortunately, there are no known direct observations of the parasitic behaviour or rearing of the Sphecodes from nests of the host.
Year profile last updated
Proofed: Updated Oct 2012