Alice Springs Fauna •

Alice Springs BeesAmegilla Bee Bright-white Masked Bee Bush Bee Ceylalitus perditellus Golden-browed Resin Bee Red-headed Masked Bee

One of the native bees that can be found in Alice Springs is the Golden-browed Resin Bee (Megachile aurifrons). They are a striking looking bee, slightly larger then the average native bee (the female are about 6-8 mm in length), with both the male and the female having the “golden brow” on their faces. The resin part of the name alludes to the resin they make to cap their nesting holes.

Golden-browed Resin Bee (Megachile aurifrons), Alice Springs, NT
Female Golden-browed Resin Bee (Megachile aurifrons), Alice Springs, NT

The female of the species have distinctive “red eyes”. The male of the species have a more milky colour with red tints to their eyes.

Megachile aurifrons © Gary Taylor
Male Megachile aurifrons © Gary Taylor

In Alice Springs, the female Megachile aurifrons have been seen nesting in suitable disused mud nests originally created and used by native wasps such as the Potter Wasp (Delta latreillei). The following images are of disused mud nests, used by the resin bee, found on a sheltered west facing wall of a building and a sheltered south facing wall of a house in Alice Springs.

They will of course also nest in other suitable cavities and holes, such as in old plastic irrigation pipes that may be lying around. In some of the following images you can see the layers of resin that seals each cell, as they move back out of the plastic pipe, finally adding the last seal to cap the open plastic irrigation pipe. These photos were taken at a home in Alice Springs.

In the following series of photos (taken in Alice Springs), the Megachile aurifrons bee is preparing the nesting cell, lining it with collected pollen. In some of the photos you can see some of the collected pollen on their abdomen, which they then deposit in the cell, as food provision for the young.

In the following images, you can see the pollen that is laid in the cell. The Golden-browed Resin bee will make several trips until the cell is packed with pollen and it has laid the egg. Once the egg is laid and the cell is packed with pollen, they then seal the cell.

When depositing the pollen the Golden-browed Resin Bee will either enter the cells head first or reverse into the cell to deposit pollen. If there is still room in the cells, they can even turn around in the cell, scraping the pollen off their body to deposit in the cells. Usually they work on one cell at a time, although they are known to scope out another nearby cell in preparation.

In the following series of photos taken in Alice Springs, you can see the Megachile aurifrons bee laying down the resin to seal the nesting cell. The green colour is from chewed up leaf matter mix. Some of the images shows older cap cells and the bee preparing another cell.

In the following two photos is the new bee emerging from the nest. You can see some of the pollen on the face that fed it within the nest, before the bee broke through the cell capping.

You can read more about the Golden-browed Resin Bee in our Bees section > Megachile aurifrons.

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Hexapoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Informal: Pterygotes
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Superfamily: Apoidea
  • Informal: Apiformes
  • Family: Megachilidae
  • Subfamily: Megachilinae
  • Tribe: Megachilini
  • Genus: Megachile
  • Species: Megachile aurifrons

Alice Springs BeesAmegilla Bee Bright-white Masked Bee Bush Bee Ceylalitus perditellus Golden-browed Resin Bee Red-headed Masked Bee

Alice Springs FaunaAlice Springs Bees Alice Springs Butterflies & Moths Alice Springs Reptiles Alice Springs Spiders Birds in Alice Springs Black-footed Rock Wallaby

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