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Catalogue of British Hymenoptera in the collection of the British museum online

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THIS Catalogue contains descriptions of all the species of
BEES which have hitherto been found in Great Britain,
with some account of the hahits of the genera and the
peculiar economy of individual species, at the same time
indicating their localities. Considerable attention has been
devoted to the synonyma ; and to ensure accuracy in the
nomenclature, British examples have been compared with
authentically-named continental specimens.

The species contained in the British Museum are indi-
cated by the letters B.M. at the end of the description.


British Museum,
1 May, 1855.






Consisting of two sexes in all the solitary species, males and
females, to which another is added in the social ones, usually
called a neuter, abortive female, or worker; the females and
workers, excepting in the case of the hive and parasitic bees,
furnished with apparatus for conveying pollen, and armed with
a sting ; possessing antennae, twelve-articulate in the females and
workers, and thirteen-articulate in the males'; the abdomen of
the females having six segments or rings, that of the males con-
sisting of seven ; all possessing four variously veined wings ; two
compound eyes placed laterally on the head, and three simple
eyes (stemmata) on the vertex ; the tongue obtuse, lanceolate, or
filiform; all in their larva state feeding on pollen or honey,
stored up by the parent. Some parasitical, consuming the food
stored up for the legitimate inhabitant of the nest.


Fam. 1. Andrenidae.

ANDRENET.E, Latr. Gen. Crust, et Ins. iv. 147.
ANDRENIDJE, Leach, Sam. Comp.

This family may very conveniently and appropriately be divided
into two subfamilies, as proposed by Westwood in his Introduc-
tion : namely Obtusilingues, and Acutilingues ; to the former only
the two first genera belong, they having the tongue resembling
that of a wasp, whilst the remaining gejiera have that organ
more or less lanceolate at the apex.

Subfamily 1. OBTUSILINGUES, Westw.
Genus 1. COLLETES, Latr.

Apis, pt., Linn. Syst. Nat. i. 953 (1766).
Andrena, pt., Fabr. Ent. Syst. ii. 307 (1793).
iMegilla, pt., Fabr. Syst. Piez. p. 328 (1804).
Melitta, pt., Kirby, Mon. Ap. Angl. i. 130*0 (1802).
Colletes, Latr. Hist. Nat. Ins. xiii. 359 (1805).
Evodia, Panz. Krit. Revis. p. 208 (1806).

Head subtriangular, as wide as the thorax ; the mentum thrice
the length of the labium or tongue, the apex bilobed ; the para-
glossae nearly as long as the labium, rounded at their apex; the
labial palpi four-jointed, the joints subequal ; the maxillary palpi
six-jointed; the stemmata placed in a line on the vertex. The
wings with one marginal, arid three complete submarginal cells.

The economy of the insects which compose the present genus
has been frequently quoted from the interesting history given by
Reaumur, who found them constructing their burrows in the in-
terstices of stone walls, the spaces between the stones no doubt
being filled with earth or some soft kind of mortar ; they are
found burrowing in light sand-banks. One species, C. Daviesana
of Kirby's MSS., is extremely abundant in many sandy districts,
particularly in the county of Kent ; where, as I learnt on having
an opportunity of examining Mr. Kirby'ti own interleaved copy
of ' The Monographia,' he himself had observed it, near Maid-
stone. The burrows of these insects are from 8 to 10 inches in
length ; they are lined at the further end with a very thin trans-
parent membranaceous coating, resembling gold-beater's skin :
the insect having stored up a sufficient supply of pollen and
honey in a semi-fluid state, closes up the cell with a cap of the
same substance as the lining of the tube ; this cap is stretched


flat across, like the parchment on a drum-head ; a little within
she next constructs a concave cap, serving as the end of the
cell ; her former labour is then repeated until she has furnished
six or eight cells, when the whole is completed. There is little
doubt that the same bee constructs more than one of these tubes,
as there never appears any trace of a second tunnel running into
the first, as may be observed in many other species of solitary
bees, particularly Halicti, Andrenidce, and Anthophoridce. These
bees are subject to the attacks of two parasites, one feeding upon
the larvae, the other upon the pollen ; the first is a Dipterous
insect, Miltogramma punctata ; these flies are very frequently to
be seen entering the burrows of the bees, and have been often
bred from the cocoons of Colletes ; the second parasite is the
beautiful little bee, Epeolus variegatus, which has been very fre-
quently reared from the cells of Colletes.

These bees are gregarious, forming large colonies, particularly
the C. Daviesana; and although their numbers are to some
extent reduced by the parasites named, still their destruction by
these means sinks into insignificance when compared to the
wholesale slaughter committed upon them by Forficulce ; these
omnivorous enemies devour indiscriminately pupa?, larvae, or
pollen; and in some situations they abound to such an extent,
that not less than three-fourths of the bees perish through the
attacks of these destructive insects.

There are four known British species of this genus, the type
being the Apis succincta of Linnaeus : the authentic specimen is
preserved in the cabinet at the Linnaean Society's Museum.

1. Colletes succincta.

C. nigra, albido-villosa ; thorace fulvo ; abdomine ovato ; seg-
mentis margiue albis.

Apis succincta, Linn. Syst. Nat. \. 955. 18, ^ Cab. Mus. Linn. Soc.

Christ. Hym. p. 185. t. 15. f. 7.

Andrena succincta, Fabr. Syst. Ent. 378..J4 ; Sp. Ins. i. 474. 18 ;
Mant. i. 299. 20.

Rossi, Faun. Eh us. ii. 98. 899.
Apis calendarum, Panz. Faun. Germ. 83. 19 $ .
Melitta succincta, Kirby, Mon. Ap. Angl. $ % .
Hylaeus glutinosus, Latr. Cuv. R. Anim. i. ed. 3. 513 $ .
Megilla calendarum, Fabr. Syst. Piez. p. 335. 33 $ .
Colletes succincta, Smith, Zool. iv. 1276. 1.
Evodia calendarum, Panz. Krit. Revis. p. 208.

Spin. Ins. Lig. ii. 197. 1.

Latr. Gen. Crust, et Ins. i. t. 14. f. 7.

Panz. Faun. Germ. 2. 1 <? . 22 ? .



Collates fodiens, Curt. Brit. Ent. ii. f. 85.
St. Farg. Hym. ii. 298. 3.
Nyland. Ap. Boreal 206. 2.
Reaum. Mem. vi. t. 12. f. 1-13.

Female. Length 5-5^ lines. Black ; the clypeus roughly
punctured, the punctures uniting and forming striae towards
the apex ; the head and thorax clothed above with pale ful-
vous pubescence, beneath it is griseous ; the tibiae and tarsi
have also a pale fulvous pubescence, the claws ferruginous ;
the wings hyaline, their nervures ferruginous. Abdomen shining,
the base closely punctured, more strongly than the following
segments, on which the punctures are very delicate ; the mar-
gin of the basal segment rufo-piceous, and having on each side
a little pale fulvous pubescence ; a band of short pale or white
pubescence on the apical margin of each segment ; the band on
the basal segment passes in the middle on to the basal margin
of the second. B.M.

Male. Length 3-4 lines. Black ; the pubescence on the
head and thorax of the same colour as that of the female, the
clypeus being densely covered. The abdomen is elongate -
ovate, more strongly punctured than in the other sex ; all the
segments have a pale fulvous marginal band; beneath, the
segments have a white marginal fringe. B.M.

This species resembles C. fodiens, but is easily distinguished
by its polished abdomen and the ferruginous margin of the basal
segment ; the specimens described are in the finest condition,
but allowance must always be made for the pubescence being
more or less bleached according to age. This bee is found scat-
tered over most parts of the country ; it is found at Weybridge,
Surrey ; Blackwater and other parts of Hampshire ; Arundel,
Sussex ; Isle of Wight ; also in Cumberland ; and Mr. Wollaston
has taken it at Killarney ; it has been observed to be very partial
to the flowers of the heath, and indeed it appears to be most
commonly met with on heaths or commons; it occurs during
June, July and August. *

2. Collates fodiens.

C. nigra, albido-villosa ; thorace fulvesceriti ; abdomine punc-
tulatissimo, margine pallide fulvescente.

Melitta fodiens, Kirby, Mon. Ap. Angl. ii. 34. 2. t. 15. f. 1 $ . 2 $ .
Apis pallicincta, Kirby, Mon. Ap. Angl. ii. 295. 67 ? .
Apis fodiens, Fourc. Ent. Par. ii. 444. 7 ?
Colletes fodiens, Smith, Zool. iv. 1277. 2.
Lucas, Explo. Sc.Alge'r. iii. 182. 90 ?


Female. Length 4-4| lines. Black ; the pubescence on the
face griseous, that on the vertex, and on the thorax above, is
fulvous ; on the cheeks and thorax beneath it is nearly white, as
is also the pubescence on the legs ; the wings hyaline, the ner-
vures dark fuscous ; the abdomen is fuscous, subopake, and
very closely punctured, the base somewhat coarsely so ; all the
segments have entire fasciae of pale fulvous, or rather, ochra-
ceous pubescence ; beneath, the margins have a pale, or white
fringe. B.M.

Male. Length 3^-4 lines. Head and thorax black, the face
densely clothed with pale fulvous pubescence, the disk of the
thorax ochraceous or pale fulvous ; the legs beneath and the
cheeks have a long dense white pubescence. Abdomen fuscous,
very closely and rather strongly punctured throughout ; all the
segments have a pale marginal fascia, which is longer and less
even than in the female ; between the fasciae is a long thin fus-
cous pubescence. B.M.

The sculpture of the abdomen will easily distinguish this
species from C. succincta, with which alone it can be confounded ;
it is less black and shining than the latter. This bee, like the
former species, is generally distributed, but it has hitherto been
much less abundant, and is never found in large colonies. It is
taken at Coomb Wood, also in Kent and Hampshire, and has
been received from Sussex and Killarney ; it is found throughout
June, July and August.

3. Collates marginata.

C. nigra, thorace pallide fulvescente, abdomine segmentis margine

Apis marginata, Linn. MSS. in Linn&an Cabinet^ $ .
Collates marginata, Smith, Zool. iv. 1277. 3 $ $ .
Colletes succincta, Nyland. Ap. Boreal. 206. 1.

Female. Length 4 lines. Black ; the clypeus deeply punctured,
the face having a pale fulvous pubescence, most thinly scat-
tered on the clypeus ; the thorax above has a thin fulvo-ochra-
ceous pubescence, that on the sides and beneath is much paler ;
the legs fusco-ferruginous, and having a thin pale pubescence.
Abdomen slightly shining, delicately punctured, the punctures
most strong on the basal segment, which has at the base a short
pale fulvous pubescence on each side ; all the apical margins of
the segments have a fascia of short pubescence of the same
colour. B.M.


Male. Length 3 lines. Black ; the face densely covered with
very pale ochraceous pubescence ; the thorax clothed as in the
female, but the abdomen is much more strongly punctured, all
the segments having pale marginal fasciae ; the punctures on
the basal segment are deep, but not very close ; beneath, the
segments have a fringe of white pubescence. B.M.

This is the smallest species found in this country. I have
compared British specimens with the Swedish one in the Lin-
naean Cabinet and find them identical ; it was first captured by
Mr. Samuel Stevens at Little Hampton, Sussex, since which it
has been taken in Yorkshire, and also received from Cumber-

4. Collates Daviesana.

C. nigra, pallido-villosula ; abdomine laevi, nitidissimo, punctis
minutis sparsiori.

Melitta Daviesana, Kirby's MSS. ii.

Colletes Daviesana, Smith, Zool. iv. 1278. 4<? ? .

Female. Length 4-4| lines. Black ; the clypeus covered with
cinereous pubescence, becoming gradually fulvous towards the
vertex ; the thorax thinly clothed on the disk with fulvo-ochra-
ceous pubescence, on the sides it is much paler, and beneath
and on the legs nearly or quite white ; the wings hyaline, their
nervures ferruginous. Abdomen smooth and shining, delicately
punctured, most strongly at the base ; all the segments have a
fascia of pale ochraceous pubescence on their apical margins,
the first of which is usually interrupted. B.M.

Male. Length 3^-4 lines. The pubescence on the head and
thorax similar to that of the female ; the flagellum sometimes
nigro-piceous beneath ; the abdomen oblong ovate, shining,
rather more deeply punctured than the female ; the base thinly
clothed with long ochraceous pubescence ; all the segments have
similar fasciae to the female, but the first is frequently obli-
terated, usually more or less so ; beneath, the fasciae curve up-
wards from the lateral margins to the middle of the segment,
but do not meet in the centre. B.M.

The greatest difficulty in this genus is to distinguish the males
from each other ; that of C. marginata is the largest, its abdomen
most convex, and its fasciae the most white and even, with little
or no pubescence between ; in C. fodiens the close puncturing
will serve to distinguish it ; that of C. Daviesana may be detected


at once by examining the fasciae on the abdomen beneath ; whilst
the minute size of C. marginata alone will be a sufficient distin-
guishing characteristic.

Genus 2. PROSOPIS, Fabr.

Apis, pt., Linn. Syst. Nat. i. 953 (1766).
Hylams, pt., Fabr. Ent. Syst. ii. 302 (1793).
Sphex, pt., Panz. Faun. Germ. fasc. 53. 1.
Melitta, pt., Kir&y, Man. Ap. Angl. 134*# (1802).
Prosopis, pt., Fabr. Syst. Piez. p. 293 (1804).

Head subtriangular, as wide as the thorax ; the stemmata in
a triangle on the vertex ; the maxillary palpi six-jointed, the
labial palpi four-jointed; the superior wings having one marginal
and two submarginal cells, the second submarginal cell slightly
restricted towards the marginal, the first recurrent nervure re-
ceived at the apex of the first submarginal cell, the second at
the apex of the second.

The bees of which the present genus is composed, being desti-
tute of the usual apparatus for collecting pollen, were long re-
garded as belonging to the family of parasites. Some years ago
two of the species were bred from bramble sticks, the larvae
having been exposed and found to be arranged in the same re-
gular order as in the acknowledged industrious, or working
species: this observation was made by Mr. Thwaites in 1841.
Since that time I have repeatedly bred them from a similar nidus.
But all doubt of their habits has been removed by the observa-
tions of Mr. Sidney Saunders, who has bred an Albanian species
in great profusion : they construct their cells in bramble sticks,
which they line in the same manner as Colletes with a thin trans-
parent membrane, calculated for holding semi-liquid honey, which
they store up for their young : the Albanian species were usually
much infested by a Stylops. I had a very interesting nest of one
of these bees given to me : the bee was observed to have chosen
a hollow r piece of flint stone, on breaking which a number of the
silken cocoons were found, some containing perfect bees when
received. Mr. Walcott has in his collection two specimens of
this genus of bees, which have apparently been attacked by a
species of Stylops ; the fact has not been previously observed in
this country, but in the ' Transactions of the Entomological
Society,' vol. i. new ser. p. 58, will be found an interesting ac-
count of a species of Stylops which attacks Prosopis rubicola,
found by Mr. S. Saunders in Albania.


1. Prosopis communis.
P. atra ; fronte maculata ; tibiis posticis albido annulatis.

Hylaeus annulatus, Fabr. Ent. Syst. ii. 305. 12 ? .

Panz. Faun. Germ. 55. 3. .

Latr. Hist. Nat. xiii. 360. 1.

Zett. Ins. Lapp. 463. 1.

Smith, Tram. Ent. Soc. iv. 29. 1 ; Zool. vi. 2202 <? ? .
Melitta annulata, Kirby, Mon. Ap. Angl. ii. 36. 3 $ ? . 1. 15. f. 3.
Prosopis annulata, /tor. Syst. Piez. 293. 1.

/>m. Ins. Lig. fasc. i. 1 12. 3.

AV/and. 4. .Borea/. 187. 1.
Hylaeus communis, Nyland. Revis. Ap. Boreal. 234.

Female. Length 2-3 lines. Black ; head and thorax finely and
very closely punctured ; the face has on each side of the clypeus
an oblong angulated macula, touching the eyes, sometimes re-
duced to a mere line. Thorax : an interrupted yellow line on
the collar, rarely obliterated ; the tubercles and a spot 0*1 the
tegulae yellow, that on the former sometimes obliterated, that
on the latter rarely so ; the posterior tibiae have a pale yellow
ring at their base, and the extreme base of the anterior and in-
termediate pairs sometimes yellow. Abdomen ovate, smooth
and shining. B.M.

Male. Length H-2f lines. Black; punctured as in the female,
the thorax beneath coarsely so ; the clypeus, a triangular shape
above it, and the face on each side as high as the insertion of
the antennae, yellow ; the sides of the clypeus sometimes black ;
in rare instances a yellow line in front of the scape of the an-
tennae ; the intermediate and posterior tarsi at their base, and
also the posterior tibiae at their base yellow. B.M.

The face of this species is more triangular than that of the
other species, and the yellow markings are of a deeper colour ;
like the rest of the species of this genus they are extremely
partial to the flowers of the wild Mignonette (Reseda odor at a\
on which they are commonly found during the months of June
and July.

The typical specimen of annularis is preserved in the Linnaean
Cabinet, and differs from the present species in several particu-
lars ; it has not yet been found in this country, but it may pro-
bably occur in Scotland.


2. Prosopis annularis.

P. atra, fronte maculata ; tibiis omnibus flavo annulatis.

Sphex annulata, Panz. Faun. Germ. fasc. 53. 1 $ .
Melitta annularis, Kirby, Mon. Ap. Angl. ii, 38. 4.
Hylaeus annularis, Smith, Trans. Ent. Soc. iv. 30. 2 ; Zool. vi.

2202. 3.
Prosopis armillatus, Nyland. Ap. Boreal. 189. 3.

Female. Lengtlv2-3 lines. Black ; head orbiculate, the clypeus
truncate anteriorly, a yellow or sometimes a fulvous macula below
the insertion of the antennae, not touching the eyes ; the apex
of the nagellum fulvous beneath ; the collar has an interrupted
line, the tubercles and a spot on the tegulae in front, yellow ; all
the tibiae yellow at the base ; the wings hyaline, beautifully
iridescent, their nervures fuscous ; the abdomen very smooth
and shining, the margins of the segments sometimes narrowly
rufo-piceous. B.M.

Male. Length 2 lines. Black, the face below the insertion of
the antennae, the scape in front and a line on the mandibles
white ; the nagellum, except the two basal joints, fulvous be-
neath ; the tegula3 and extreme base of the wings fulvo-testa-
ceous ; wings subhyaline, the nervures ferruginous, the anterior
tibiae fulvous, or sometimes yellow in front, the tarsi rufo-
fuscous ; the posterior tibiae have a broad ring at their base, the
intermediate tibiae more or less yellowish-white at their base ;
the basal joint of the posterior tarsi white ; the abdomen rather
more elongate than in the female. B.M.

Although this species closely resembles the P. communis, still
it is very distinct ; the form of the head alone would serve to
distinguish it ; and it should be observed that the markings are
not yellow, but really cream-coloured. This species occurs near
London., and has been taken in Hampshire ; Mr. S. Stevens met
with it at Arundel, Sussex.

3. Prosopis dilatata.

P. atra, tibiis flavis, nigro annulatis ; antennis scapo patelli-

Melitta dilatata, Kir by, Mon. Ap. Angl. ii. 39. 5 $ .
Hylaeus dilatatus, Latr. Hist. Nat. xiii. 361. 2.

Curtis, Brit. Ent. viii. t. 273.

Smith, Trans. Ent. Soc. iv. 31. 4. t. 3. f. 1 ; Zool vi. 2204. 4.
Prosopis dilatata, Nyland. Ap. Boreal. 188. 2.

B 5


Male. Length 3 lines. Black ; the face below the insertion of
the antennae and the scape in front cream-coloured ; the man-
dibles are of the same colour in the middle, having their base
black and their apex ferruginous; the scape of the antennae
broadly expanded, subquadrate, concave beneath ; the fiagellum,
except the basal joint, fulvous beneath ; the collar with an in-
terrupted line, and the tubercles and tegulse in front, white ; the
latter are ferruginous behind, as well as the extreme base of the
wings and their nervures ; the wings pale rufo-hyaline ; the
tibiae, tarsi and knees pale yellowish-white ; the anterior and
intermediate tibiae have a black stain behind, and the apical half
of the posterior pair black ; the apical joints of the tarsi pale
ferruginous. The abdomen oblong-ovate, covered with a short
pile, particularly on the apical margins of the segments.

This must be a very local species ; we have not seen more
than half a dozen specimens altogether, and only once met
with it in that richest of all counties in hymenopterous insects,
Hampshire, where a single specimen occurred at Hawley. We
have since repeatedly searched the same locality for it in vain ;
Mr. S. Stevens took it at Arundel. Its female is not known.

4. Prosopis comnta.
P. atra, fronte maculata, tibiis flavo maculatis, clypeo cornuto.

Hylacus cornutus, Smith, Trans. Ent. Soc. iv. 32. 6. t. 3. f. 4 ;

Zool. vi. 2204. 5 ? .
Hylaeus plantaris, Smith, Trans. Ent, Soc. iv. 32. 7. t. 3. f. 2 ;

'Zool. vi. 2205. 6 $ .

Female. Length 3^ lines. Black ; head rotundate, a stout an-
gular tooth on each side of the clypeus, which has its base raised,
forming an elevation which passes backwards between the an-
tennae ; the flagellum fulvous beneath, except one or two of the
basal joints ; a spot on the tegulae and sometimes an interrupted
line on the collar, white ; the posterior tibiae have a ring at their
base, and the extreme base of the anterior and posterior tibia?
yellowish-white, the claw-joints of the tarsi ferruginous ; the
wings hyaline, their nervures testaceous; abdomen oblong-ovate,
very bright and shining.

Male. Length 3 lines. Black ; the antennae pale yellow, having
a fusco-ferruginous line above; the front above the clypeus
is raised, and the antennae inserted on each side of the promi-
nence ; a spot on the tegulae in front and sometimes an inter-
rupted line on the collar, white ; the wings hyaline, having a
slight fulvous stain and their base yellowish ; the anterior


tibiae in front, and the intermediate and posterior pairs at their
base, pale yellow ; all the tarsi of that colour, with the claw-
joint ferruginous ; the basal joint of the intermediate tarsi di-
lated in front ; the abdomen elongate-ovate, slightly pubescent
at the apex ; beneath, in the middle of the apical margin of the
second segment is a depression clothed with short fulvous

In the Kirbyan collection is a specimen of this insect without
a name ; but in Mr. Kirby's interleaved copy of his Monograph
it is named cornuta, a name which I had given it before I saw
the MSS. notes. A specimen of each sex was taken on Cove
Common, Hants, but described as distinct species ; since that
time Mr. Douglas gave me some stems of the common Dock,
which were evidently perforated by an hymenopterous insect ;
these produced both sexes from the same stem, and conse-
quently I retain the manuscript name given by Mr. Kirby for
the female of the species.

5. Prosopis punctulatissima.

P. nigra, tibiis flavo annulatis, abdomine segmentis punctulatis-

Hylaeus punctulatissimus, Smith, Ent. Trans, iv. 33; Zool. vi.
2205. 7.

Female. Length 3 lines. Black ; the head and thorax strongly
and closely punctured ; the inner orbits of the eyes have a broad
yellow stripe as high as the insertion of the antennae ; the
tubercles, a spot on each side of the collar and another in front
of the tegula?, pale yellow ; wings subhy aline, the anterior and
intermediate tibiae at their extreme base and a ring at the base
of the posterior pair, pale yellow ; the abdomen shining and
strongly punctured, and having on each side of its apical margin
a line of white pubescence ; the rest of the abdomen is more

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