Austrothurgus Austrothurgus rubricatus

Photographs © Marc Newman

Formerly Lithurgus rubricatus, now Austrothurgus rubricatus are pictured here gorging on the large grains of pollen of the hibiscus.

Austrothurgus rubricatus, Ballandean QLD © Marc Newman
Austrothurgus rubricatus, Ballandean QLD © Marc Newman

I was delighted to see these bees again (Austrothurgus rubricatus). The last time I saw them was March 2015 on the same Hibiscus bush. This bush flowers over a long period and the bee can accommodate that flowering range.

What I noticed this time, were the bee flying speedily from flower to flower coming to a (very brief) halt in front and then moving on to the next flower. Eventually they will find a flower that pleases them and that is the time for photos. How they determine suitability is possibly by pheromones though I guess they may be able to see what they are looking for.

I’d love to see the males roosting and the nests of the females.

I realised later that the hi-speed bees would be the males, just checking to see if there were any females hiding in the flower.

Author Marc Newman
Austrothurgus rubricatus, Ballandean QLD © Marc Newman
Austrothurgus rubricatus female on Hibiscus, Ballandean QLD © Marc Newman

The Australian government site PaDIL name host family plants to include Convolvulaceae, Cucurbitaceae and Malvaceae, with one of the specific flowering genera Hibiscus L. (Malvaceae).

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Hexapoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Informal: Pterygotes
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Superfamily: Apoidea
  • Informal: Apiformes
  • Family: Megachilidae
  • Subfamily: Lithurginae
  • Tribe: Lithurgini
  • Genus: Austrothurgus
  • Species: Austrothurgus rubricatus

Footnote & References

  1. Photographs Austrothurgus rubricatus, Ballandean, QLD © Marc Newman, Flickr,
  2. Austrothurgus rubricatus (Smith, 1853), Atlas of Living Australia,
  3. Native rubricatus megachile, Austrothurgus rubricatus (Smith, 1853), PaDIL,

Austrothurgus Austrothurgus rubricatus

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