Melecta albifrons - Dark Form

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Ed Phillips
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Last seen: 2 years 1 week ago
Joined: 13/05/2012 - 08:41
Melecta albifrons - Dark Form

Observing bees at the local churchyard recently, I saw four different Melecta albifrons. Interestingly, three examples were the dark-form. I've only seen these very occasionally before. It got me thinking. Were these three all related? Do dark-form females produce all dark-form offspring or are the dark forms just occasional genetic variations?

Stuart Roberts
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Last seen: 4 weeks 15 hours ago
Joined: 15/12/2011 - 12:19
Melecta albifrons

The very dark form of this bee is not uncommon in the UK (indeed, our continental colleagues are often amazed by them). The exact genetics of the melanism have not been worked out (as far as I know), so it really isn't possible to do more than postulate sibship

Penny Metal (not verified)
I was thinking the same

I was thinking the same thing, especially as my park was full of Melectas and Anthophora plumipes this year! One thing that struck me though was the colour variations that progressed though the season. I found quite brownish ones early on when the male Anthophora were new and brown and then both species got progressively lighter as the season went on. I also saw a lot of black forms too - around the same time that the female Anthophoras were out and about in force. I am wondering, as they are cuckoo bees, are they acting out some disguise???

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