StenotritidaeCtenocolletes albomarginatus Ctenocolletes nicholsoni Ctenocolletes rufescens

Images and Contributor Author Gary Taylor

The males of Ctenocolletes nicholsoni are particularly fast and noisy fliers. The males occasionally alight to take nectar but most of their time from mid-morning to late afternoon is spent in flight.

Seasonality

Judging from collection data (Houston 1983a, b), Ctenocolletes are predominantly univoltine vernal bees. More northerly species such as C. centralis Houston and C. nicholsoni (Cockerell) may make their first appearance in July while more southerly ones such as C. smaragdinus (Smith) and C. tricolor Houston do not appear until September. The period of adult activity appears to be only about one month in C. nicholsoni but may extend over four months in C. rufescens Houston.

Source: Biological Observations of Bees in the Genus Ctenocolletes, Terry F. Houston

However, the photos here were taken in mid January. The Ctenocolletes nicholsoni taken on the Eucalyptus platypus, known as the Coastal Moort.

Ctenocolletes nicholsoni, family Stenotritidae Midwest WA © Gary Taylor
Ctenocolletes nicholsoni, family Stenotritidae Midwest WA © Gary Taylor

Aaaaaarrrggghhh! Idiot! Idiot! Idiot! goes the silent scream in my head…

When I first saw this big beautiful one come walking over the flowers the mind said “by the size and length of it, it’s some kind of flower wasp…” never seen a grey one before… But the gut was saying “No, there’s something different about this one…” so I snapped a couple of half hearted pics…

When I loaded the pics on to the computer where I could see clearly, I saw the tuft of fur on the butt. That’s pre-pygidial fimbriae, a specialised adaptation found in ground nesting bees that is used to brush secretions produced by the abdomen on to the inner walls of her burrow, a bit like brushing Bondcrete on to fretting mortar to stop it falling apart…

Aaaarrrggghh… a brand new bee for the albums and I only took three pics… Stupid mind, I’m never listening to it again! 😆

Author Gary Taylor, Geraldton, Midwest WA
Ctenocolletes nicholsoni, family Stenotritidae Midwest WA © Gary Taylor
Ctenocolletes nicholsoni, family Stenotritidae Midwest WA © Gary Taylor

Bee probably went through difficult times, flagellar segments broken, both sides… Stenotritidae, u are right. Metasomal segments elongated, extremity presence two tiny spines. It is a male. Apical margins of metasomal terga pale towards end, last tergite brown-black. Might be: Ctenocolletes nicholsoni (Ckl.).

Additional ID information – Roch Desmier de Chenon, Bee Aware of Your Native Bees (Australia)
Ctenocolletes nicholsoni, family Stenotritidae Midwest WA © Gary Taylor
Ctenocolletes nicholsoni, family Stenotritidae Midwest WA © Gary Taylor

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Clade: Anthophila
  • Family: Stenotritidae
  • Genera: Ctenocolletes
  • Species: Ctenocolletes nicholsoni

Footnote & References

  1. Ctenocolletes nicholsoni, Photographs and content contribution by Gary Taylor, Western Australia
  2. Additional ID information, Roch Desmier de Chenon, member of Bee Aware of Your Native Bees (Australia), https://www.facebook.com/groups/beeawareofyournativebees
  3. Biological Observations of Bees in the Genus Ctenocolletes, Terry F. Houston (PDF), Stenotritidae – Western Australian Museum, https://museum.wa.gov.au/
  4. Stenotritid Burrowing Bee – Ctenocolletes nicholsoni, Lochman Transparencies, https://www.lochmantransparencies.com/products/australian-wildlife/stenotritid-burrowing-bee-ctenocolletes-nicholsoni/

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StenotritidaeCtenocolletes albomarginatus Ctenocolletes nicholsoni Ctenocolletes rufescens