The Megachile aurifrons is a native bee that are larger then the usual native bee. The female are about 12 mm in length, whilst the male is smaller at about 10 mm in length. It is the female bee that has the distinctive red eyes. The male of the species have a more milky colour with red tint to the eyes. Both male and female of the species have the “golden brow” on their faces, hence their common name of the ‘Golden-browed Resin Bee’. The ‘resin’ part of the name alludes to the resin they make to cap their nesting holes.
The Megachile aurifrons can vary in their overall body and banding colour. When you see distinct whitish banding, this indicates that it is a young bee. In the older bee, they may appear more black overall, as the whitish hairs are worn off the body. You can also see white hair on the tip of the abdomen.
These native bees collect pollen on their abdomen, and depending on the colour of the pollen, can lend to the colour appearance of the bee to the human eye.
The Megachile aurifrons belong to the family Megachilidae, known as the “leafcutter”. The species in this family use leaves to line their nests. The Megachile aurifrons macerates the leaf into a pulp, creating a resin-like material to seal the hole after the offsprings are laid inside.
The Megachile aurifrons appear to have taken over the empty holes of this Mud Wasp (Eumenes latreilli) nest. The holes originally created by the Mud Wasp to lay their larvae, which have since hatched and left the nest.
Golden-browed Resin Bee, Red-faced Mastic Bee, Red-eyed Bee, Red Eye Bee, Red-eyed Golden-browed Resin Bee.
Many thanks to the members of the following Facebook groups who assisted with identifying this native bee:
- Australian Native Bee Network, https://www.facebook.com/groups/australiannativebeenetwork/
- Bees in the burbs, https://www.facebook.com/groups/Beesintheburbs/
- Insect Identification Australia – Pest or Friend – NO SPIDERS!, https://www.facebook.com/groups/476897096018877/
- Australia – What Bug Is This?, https://www.facebook.com/groups/Auswhatbugisthis/
- Scientific classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Hymenoptera
- Family: Megachilidae
- Genus: Megachile
- Species: M. aurifrons
- Binomial name: Megachile aurifrons
Footnote & References
- Megachile aurifrons, Friends of Queens Park Bushland, https://www.friendsofqueensparkbushland.org.au/megachile-aurifrons/
- Sydney megachilid females, https://michaelbatley.github.io/Bee-ID-SM/main.htm
- We’re Buzzing about World Bee Day!, 15 May 2019, https://blog.publish.csiro.au/world-bee-day/
- Golden-browed resin bees – Megachile aurifrons, Karen Retra, Twitter, https://twitter.com/karenretra/status/824143651248996352
- Walker, K. (2010) Native aurifrons resin bee (Megachile (Unplaced) aurifrons) Updated on 10/27/2012 10:03:00 AM Available online: PaDIL – https://www.padil.gov.au/pollinators/pest/main/138735
- Golden-browed Resin Bee (Megachile aurifrons), Ellura – Ants, Bees, Flies & Wasps, Ellura Sanctuary, Murray Malle, SA, http://www.ellura.info/Insect/Bee/DSC00521E-Golden-browed-Resin-Bee-Megachile-aurifrons–Female-Face.html
- Megachile aurifrons, iNaturalist, https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/868150-Megachile-aurifrons
- The unmistakable eyes of Megachile aurifrons by Gary Taylor, https://ausemade.com.au/the-unmistakable-eyes-of-megachile-aurifrons/