ColletidaeHylaeus spp – Masked Bee Leioproctus Neopasiphae mirabilis Paracolletes crassipes Trichocolletes

Colletidae only has three sub families, Colletinae, Euryglossinae and Hylaeinae, and has 883 currently identified species (as of a couple years ago) with plenty of others still waiting on being classified and named and 33 genera.

Known collectively as plasterer bees or polyester bees, which is due to the method that they use for of smoothing the walls of their nest cells with secretions applied with their mouthparts; these secretions dry into a cellophane-like lining.

Hylaeus alcyoneus © Gary Taylor
Hylaeus alcyoneus © Gary Taylor

Found around the world, with the majority of species living in South America and Australia, with over 50% of all known species living in Australia belonging to the family Colletidae.

Hylaeus violaceus © Gary Taylor
Hylaeus violaceus © Gary Taylor

The species here in Australia appear to all be solitary bees, although many species do nest in aggregations (clusters or groups).

Hylaeus elegans © Gary Taylor
Hylaeus elegans © Gary Taylor

Two of the subfamilies, Euryglossinae and Hylaeinae, lack the external pollen-carrying apparatus (the scopa) that otherwise characterizes most bees, and instead carry the pollen in their crops. These groups, and most genera in this family, have liquid or semiliquid pollen masses on which the larvae develop.

Euryglossinae © Gary Taylor
Euryglossinae © Gary Taylor

The Australian genera include Euhesma, a large genus, whose members have been split off into other genera such as Euryglossa and Callohesma.1

Meroglossa rubricata © Gary Taylor
Meroglossa rubricata © Gary Taylor


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Clade: Anthophila
  • Family: Colletidae
  • Subfamilies:
    • Colletinae
    • Diphaglossinae
    • Euryglossinae
    • Hylaeinae
    • Xeromelissinae
Euryglossinae © Gary Taylor
Euryglossinae © Gary Taylor

Images © Gary Taylor


Footnote & References


ColletidaeHylaeus spp – Masked Bee Leioproctus Neopasiphae mirabilis Paracolletes crassipes Trichocolletes

BeesBees Anatomy Bee Behaviour Blogging Bees… Amegilla Bee Apis mellifera Austroplebeia australis Austrothurgus rubricatus Ceylalictus perditellus Colletidae Euryglossinae Exoneura Homalictus Hyleoides bivulnerata Lasioglossum Lipotriches Megachile Meroglossa Stenotritidae Thyreus Xylocopa