Alice Springs Fauna •

Alice Springs BeesAmegilla Bee Braunsapis sp Bright-white Masked Bee Bush Bee Ceylalictus perditellus European Honey Bee Exoneurella eremophila Golden-browed Resin Bee Lasioglossum (Homalictus) Lasioglossum (Parasphecodes) Lipotriches Megachile deanii Red-headed Masked Bee Stenotritidae genus Stenotritus Xanthesma (Xenohesma)

The Exoneurella eremophila, whose common name is Desert Reed Bee, can often be found foraging on flowering weeds in the arid region of Australia. They are a tiny, elongated reed bee, up to 8 mm in length. A social bee that excavate tiny nest burrows inside the pithy stems of plants,

Desert Reed Bee (Exoneurella eremophila), Alice Springs NT
Desert Reed Bee (Exoneurella eremophila), Alice Springs NT

Pictured here is Exoneurella eremophila rescued from a swimming pool in Alice Springs. It soon dried itself off, shaking its abdomen and wings, then flew away.

Does the name suggest this bee prefers eremophilas?

The scientific classification of “eremophila” come from the Desert + “-phila” loving, Desert-loving.

The English translation of “eremo” is hermitage, although it dates from the Latin erēmus and the Ancient Greek “eremos” meaning lonely, solitary, desert.

But that is not to say this bee does not love the nectar/pollen from eremophilas.

Desert Reed Bee (Exoneurella eremophila), Alice Springs NT
Desert Reed Bee (Exoneurella eremophila), Alice Springs NT
Desert Reed Bee (Exoneurella eremophila), Alice Springs NT
Desert Reed Bee (Exoneurella eremophila), Alice Springs NT

Belonging to the genera Exoneura and Braunsapis, most of the group of Reed Bees have a glossy black head and thorax. When viewed from the side, their abdomen has a wedge shape, with either black or orange-red colour. Many of the Reed Bees have a distinctive T-shaped cream mark on their face.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Hexapoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Informal: Pterygotes
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Superfamily: Apoidea
  • Informal: Apiformes
  • Family: Apidae
  • Subfamily: Xylocopinae
  • Tribe: Allodapini
  • Genus: Exoneurella
  • Species: Exoneurella eremophila

Footnote & References

  1. Many thanks to Josh Whitehead for ID, member of Bee Aware of Your Native Bees (Australia), Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/beeawareofyournativebees
  2. Exoneurella eremophila (Houston, 1976), Atlas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://biodiversity.org.au/afd/taxa/75e44086-0fdc-4c8b-8cbe-0d7564155a58
  3. Desert Reed Bee (Exoneurella eremophila), iNaturalistAU, https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/taxa/893500-Exoneurella-eremophila
  4. Desert Reed Bee (Exoneurella eremophila), ausemade, iNaturalistAU, https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/observations/188765729

Alice Springs BeesAmegilla Bee Braunsapis sp Bright-white Masked Bee Bush Bee Ceylalictus perditellus European Honey Bee Exoneurella eremophila Golden-browed Resin Bee Lasioglossum (Homalictus) Lasioglossum (Parasphecodes) Lipotriches Megachile deanii Red-headed Masked Bee Stenotritidae genus Stenotritus Xanthesma (Xenohesma)

Alice Springs FaunaAlice Springs Native Bees Alice Springs Beetles Alice Springs Birds Alice Springs Gastropods (Gastropoda) Alice Springs Insects Alice Springs Marsupials Alice Springs Reptiles Alice Springs Spiders

Alice Springs FloraAlice Springs Flora Index Acacia ligulata Annual Yellowtop Bougainvillea Apple Bush Burdekin Plum Carob Tree (Ceratonia siliqa) Cattle Bush Desert Cotton (Aerva javanica) Desert Oak Eremophila Wildberry Feijoa sellowiana Flannel Cudweed Fork-leaf Corkwood Ghost Gum Golden Everlasting Kurrajong Lemon-flowered Gum MacDonnell’s Desert Fuchsia Native Bluebell Native Tomato Needlewood Olive Tree Perennial Yellow Top Rat’s Tail River Red Gum Inland River Red Gum Rosy Dock Round-leaved Mallee Scurvy Grass Silky Eremophila Stemodia viscosa Striped Mintbush Sturt’s Desert Pea Sturt’s Desert Rose Tangled Leschenaultia Tar Vine Weeping Bottlebrush White Cedar Yellow Billybutton Yellow-keeled Swainsona Yellow Oleander