StenotritidaeCtenocolletes albomarginatus Ctenocolletes nicholsoni Ctenocolletes rufescens

Images and Contributor Author Gary Taylor

Family Stenotritidae, WA © Gary Taylor
Family Stenotritidae, WA © Gary Taylor

One more from this weeks bush run, my latest new favourite bee… it wasn’t a great day for pics because of the wind factor but it’d been a great day bee wise, with a few new additions to the albums… But we still had about half an hour of bee time left so we went to another favourite spot for a quick look… Ok I’ve put the first pic in because it’s blurry and although it’s clearer than the image I saw in reality, that’s kinda all I got, a brief image of something big and orange coming in to land on a Hakea right in front of me… But then it saw me and took off… Nooo! Come back! What were you??? Arrrghh, bugger… no, hang on a sec… wait, Yes! it’s coming back! Come on, just land for a couple of seconds… 2nd pic, yes you are definitely a bee and you are absolutely gorgeous! 3rd pic she’s in shadow but how’s the fur on her… like a big fluffy bumble bee… 4th pic, and those striking black bands against the earthy orange, stunning… 5th pic, Yes I’m talking about you beautiful…

Author Gary Taylor, Western Australia
Family Stenotritidae, Midwest WA © Gary Taylor
Family Stenotritidae, Midwest WA © Gary Taylor
Family Stenotritidae, Midwest WA © Gary Taylor
Family Stenotritidae, Midwest WA © Gary Taylor
Family Stenotritidae, Midwest WA © Gary Taylor
Family Stenotritidae, Midwest WA © Gary Taylor

Many thanks to Roch for his help with the ID.

For this marvellous bee, found that the first flagellar segment is much more longer than the scape. Therefore it is not a P. Anthoglossa but a Stenotritidae. The species is belonging to the Ctenocolletes. Known on Hackea and area of Geralton. Seems to be a male.

Roch Desmier de Chenon, Bee Aware of Your Native Bees (Australia)
Family Stenotritidae, Midwest WA © Gary Taylor
Family Stenotritidae, Midwest WA © Gary Taylor

The Stenotritidae is the smallest of all formally recognised bee families, currently with only 21 species in two genera, and all of them restricted to Australia.

Historically, they were generally considered to belong in the family Colletidae, but the stenotritids are presently considered their sister taxon, and deserving of family status. Of prime importance is that the stenotritids have unmodified mouthparts, whereas colletids are separated from all other bees by having bilobed glossae.2

Following native male Stenotritidae bee on Verticordia chrysantha (yellow flowers), the pink flowers are Verticordia monadelpha.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Clade: Anthophila
  • Family: Stenotritidae
  • Genera:
    • Ctenocolletes
      • Ctenocolletes albomarginatus (Michener, 1965)
      • Ctenocolletes centralis (Houston, 1983)
      • Ctenocolletes fulvescens (Houston, 1983)
      • Ctenocolletes nicholsoni (Cockerell, 1929)
      • Ctenocolletes nigricans (Houston, 1985)
      • Ctenocolletes ordensis (Michener, 1965)
      • Ctenocolletes rufescens (Houston, 1983)
      • Ctenocolletes smaragdinus (Smith, 1868)
      • Ctenocolletes tigris (Houston, 1983)
      • Ctenocolletes tricolor (Houston, 1983)
    • Stenotritus
    • Species:
      • Stenotritus elegans (Smith, 1853)
      • Stenotritus elegantior (Cockerell, 1921)
      • Stenotritus ferricornis (Cockerell, 1916)
      • Stenotritus greavesi (Rayment, 1930)
      • Stenotritus murrayensis (Rayment, 1935)
      • Stenotritus nigrescens (Friese, 1924)
      • Stenotritus nitidus (Smith, 1879)
      • Stenotritus pubescens (Smith, 1868)
      • Stenotritus rufocollaris (Cockerell, 1921)
      • Stenotritus splendidus (Rayment, 1930)
      • Stenotritus victoriae (Cockerell, 1906)

Footnote & References

  1. Stenotritidae, Images and content contribution by Gary Taylor, Western Australia
  2. Stenotritidae, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stenotritidae (last visited May 3, 2022)
  3. Stenotritidae, Atlas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn:lsid:biodiversity.org.au:afd.taxon:079fe9a7-a771-4698-84b6-8023d1260b7f
  4. Swift and Comb-bearer Bees (Family Stenotritidae), iNaturalistAU, https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/taxa/524742-Stenotritidae
  5. Search Stenotritidae, PaDIL, https://www.padil.gov.au/pollinators/search?queryText1=&queryType1=All&sortType=CommonName&viewType=Details&pageSize=10&page=1&taxonomy=Hymenoptera:Stenotritidae
  6. A quick-start guide to honey bee antennae, American Bee Journal, https://americanbeejournal.com/quick-start-guide-honey-bee-antennae/

StenotritidaeCtenocolletes albomarginatus Ctenocolletes nicholsoni Ctenocolletes rufescens

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