Andrena tarsata - Potentilla's utilised

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Ben hargreaves
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Joined: 07/05/2014 - 15:57
Andrena tarsata - Potentilla's utilised

Hello,
This year (working on the Plan Bee project for Lancs Wildlife Trust) I found - surprisingly - Andrena tarsata on a fairly isolated / degraded site containing a good number of Tormentil cushions (Potentilla erecta) in Skelmersdale.
Skelmersdale is a new town (1961) though has a relatively large resource of informal public open space / road infrastructure (mostly farm / forest remnants) though acid grassland - and Tormentil more so - is scarce in lowland Lancs as a whole.

I know several surveys / studies have been carried out looking at previous strongholds for this species and N. robertjeotiana and wondered if any observations have been made of visits to other Potentilla sps. As Skelmersdale is a lowland area Trailing Tormentil (P. anglica), Creeping Cinquefoil (P. reptans) and the various hybrids are more likely to occur than P. erecta and I'm keen to try and fund work in surveys / connected habitat works in the area.

I have noticed A. tarsata on Potentilla anglica on one site in the West Pennines (where both tormentil's and putative hybrids occur), though as it has a much larger flower than P. erecta the circular - sideways pollen collecting was more obvious to me there. Most other upland sites only have P. erecta.

I'd be v. grateful for any observations of this sps on other Potentilla's, native or otherwise.

Cheers,

Ben.

Paddy
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Last seen: 10 months 1 week ago
Joined: 03/04/2013 - 21:34
tarsata

Hi ben,

Interesting you say P. anglica, I think in europe the species does occur on other Potentilla, ive observed this bee a lot in cornwall and only ever seen on erecta, one of my sites has quite a bit of silverweed and cinquefoil and tormentil but only seen on tormentil. Sorry not very good answer. Maybe worth looking at google scholar more of these european studies on there these-days. good you found it at skem, does like brownfields as well as upland.

paddy

Ben hargreaves
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Last seen: 11 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 07/05/2014 - 15:57
Potentilla's

Thanks Paddy,
I suspect a great deal more tormentil(s) were present historically with a long sandstone ridge to the north and remnant peat bogs due west - this is a strange site having been preserved as common land, though managed more often in recent decades by occasional arson.

Any management to create at least some more open habitat in the area would be beneficial for aculeates generally as most land is under golf course, housing or heavily succeeded. Extensive acid grassland restoration would be logistically and financially unlikely, though other Potentilla sps may colonise / be established more readily on varying soils and there is no shortage of them all regionally.

- Also cutting a few rides in the area would help for surveying - I'll check Europe as suggested.

Cheers

Ben.

Nigel Jones
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Joined: 11/11/2011 - 20:07
Thought I'd check Steven

Thought I'd check Steven Falk's new bee book. Steven says this:

"Pollen is typically gathered from tormentil though it can use related species such as shrubby cinquefoil. It will also visit brambles, harebell, heathers, wild angelica and yarrow, possibly just for nectar."

Ben hargreaves
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Last seen: 11 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 07/05/2014 - 15:57
Andrena tarsata

Thanks Nigel,
There is certainly an amount of bramble....I suspect this is a relict population. There is no obvious exposed earth so it will be interesting if nesting areas can be found, I've only found one possible nesting female in the West Pennines in a collapsed bank.

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