Hylaeus spp – Masked BeeHylaeus (Prosopisteron) Hylaeus albonitens Hylaeus alcyoneus Hylaeus constrictiformis Hylaeus douglasi Hylaeus elegans Hylaeus euxanthus Hylaeus maiellus Hylaeus nubilosus Hylaeus ruficeps Hylaeus violaceus Hylaeus vittatifrons

Images and Author Gary Taylor

The Hylaeus group of native bees are known when foraging, to ingest the pollen and nectar. They are then known to to concentrate the nectar by “bubbling”.

Hylaeus (Pprosopisteron) spp, Midwest WA © Gary Taylor
Hylaeus (Pprosopisteron) sp, Midwest WA © Gary Taylor

While all the other bees have gone quiet for the colder months, as usual the little Hylaeines are still out and about. This girl, on a Banksia stem in various stages of bubbling, I suspect may be one of the Prosopisterons.

For the newbies who may be unaware, “bubbling” is the term used for the process of regurgitating the nectar they’ve ingested into a “bubble” which they hold and work with their mouth parts, pushing it out and sucking it back in repetitively to evaporate the water content, condensing the nectar… (If you flick back and forth between the fourth and fifth pics you can see her abdomen contracting to push the nectar out.)

Author Gary Taylor, Geraldton, Midwest WA
Hylaeus (Pprosopisteron) spp, Midwest WA © Gary Taylor
Hylaeus (Pprosopisteron) sp, Midwest WA © Gary Taylor

You can view all this series of images in the slide screen view below… just click on the image to make it full screen first…

The closest I’ve got yet to catching the little red faced Prosopisteron girl bubbling 🙂 She often darts about after a good forage looking for the right spot to land (and I’d figured it was to bubble) but usually it’s somewhere discreet and I lose track of her. She’d be less than 5mm long… while she’s zipping about in the sunlight I can see her but when she ducks into the shadows of the rosemary or grevillea she just disappears… However a couple of times I’ve caught sight of her again, eventually, parked up on a twig in the typical bubbling pose… just always too late to get a pic… But we’ve been getting closer lately and our relationship has grown, we’ve got to the stage where she’s getting comfortable bubbling in front of me, tho’ still politely behind a stick… 😅

Author Gary Taylor


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Hexapoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Informal: Pterygotes
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Superfamily: Apoidea
  • Informal: Apiformes
  • Family: Colletidae
  • Subfamily: Hylaeinae
  • Genus: Hylaeus
  • Subgenus:
    • Infrageneric Prosopisteron
  • Species:
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) accipitris (Cockerell, 1914)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) albozebratus Michener, 1965
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) amatulus (Cockerell, 1922)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) aralis (Cockerell, 1916)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) asperithorax (Rayment, 1927)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) auriferus (Cockerell, 1918)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) basilautus (Rayment, 1953)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) baudinensis (Cockerell, 1905)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) bicoloratus (Smith, 1853)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) bicuneatus (Cockerell, 1910)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) bidentatus (Smith, 1853)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) blanchae Rayment, 1953
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) brevior (Cockerell, 1918)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) burnsi (Michener, 1965)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) chlorosomus (Cockerell, 1913)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) cliffordiellus Rayment, 1953
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) crassifemoratus (Cockerell, 1922)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) cyaneomicans (Cockerell, 1910)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) distractus (Cockerell, 1914)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) elongatus (Smith, 1879)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) eugeniellus (Cockerell, 1910)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) flavojugatus (Cockerell, 1912)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) frederici (Cockerell, 1905)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) greavesi (Rayment, 1935)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) hobartiellus Cockerell, 1929
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) infans (Cockerell, 1910)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) leai (Cockerell, 1912)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) littleri (Cockerell, 1918)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) mediovirens (Cockerell, 1913)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) microphenax (Cockerell, 1910)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) minusculus (Cockerell, 1913)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) murrayensis Rayment, 1935
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) nigrescens (Cockerell, 1918)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) perhumilis (Cockerell, 1914)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) perpictus Rayment, 1935
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) pictulus Michener, 1965
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) primulipictus (Cockerell, 1905)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) procurvus (Rayment, 1939)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) quadratus (Smith, 1853)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) sanguinipictus (Cockerell, 1914)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) scintillans (Cockerell, 1922)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) scintilliformis (Cockerell, 1913)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) scintillus (Cockerell, 1912)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) semipersonatus Cockerell, 1929
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) serotinellus (Cockerell, 1906)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) simplus Houston, 1993
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) subcoronatus Rayment, 1935
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) trimerops (Cockerell, 1916)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) turgicollaris Michener, 1965
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) vittatifrons (Cockerell, 1913)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) wilsoni (Rayment, 1928)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) woyensis Rayment, 1939
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) wynyardensis Cockerell, 1929
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) xanthaspis (Cockerell, 1910)
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) xanthognathus Rayment, 1935
    • Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) xanthopsyche (Cockerell, 1922)
Hylaeus (Prosopisteron), Geraldton WA © Gary Taylor
Hylaeus (Prosopisteron), Geraldton WA © Gary Taylor

Footnote & References

  1. Hylaeus (Prosopisteron), Photographs and content © Gary Taylor
  2. Hylaeus (Prosopisteron) Cockerell, 1906, Atlas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn:lsid:biodiversity.org.au:afd.taxon:00b71304-b0e7-45f4-86f1-5576768432ec#classification

Hylaeus spp – Masked BeeHylaeus (Prosopisteron) Hylaeus albonitens Hylaeus alcyoneus Hylaeus constrictiformis Hylaeus douglasi Hylaeus elegans Hylaeus euxanthus Hylaeus maiellus Hylaeus nubilosus Hylaeus ruficeps Hylaeus violaceus Hylaeus vittatifrons

ColletidaeHylaeus spp – Masked Bee Leioproctus Neopasiphae mirabilis Paracolletes crassipes Trichocolletes