grant burleigh's picture

Pollen comparison: Honey Bee vs. Mining Bee

Observed: 31st July 2011 By: grant burleighgrant burleigh’s reputation in Invertebratesgrant burleigh’s reputation in Invertebratesgrant burleigh’s reputation in Invertebratesgrant burleigh’s reputation in Invertebratesgrant burleigh’s reputation in Invertebrates
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Description:

In a previous post of mine (“Western Honey Bee” – sent to iSpot on 3rd Jan. 2011 ), Syrphus mentioned that pollen was collected by mining bees as aggregates that were more powdery and less moist than in the case of honey bees. I think the present images make the point but I am not sure how far one is looking at pollen or hairs on the mining bee’s rear femurs. (Honey bee top left; other images: mining bee)

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Honey Bee (Apis mellifera (Top Left) interacts

Comments

grant burleigh's picture

Pollen comparison

Images of mining bee: 18/05/2011

Syrphus's picture

The mining-bee's legs are

The mining-bee's legs are very hairy, and the pollen sticks to the fine branches on these hairs, so what you are seeing is both pollen and hairs. The pics show well the difference in texture. In the honeybee (and bumbles) the pollen mass is fairly coherent and sticky as it is mixed with nectar, and adheres well to the shiny back leg. The pollen in solitaries can usually be fairly easily brushed off the hairs as separate grains.

M.

TRY

recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.

DavidNotton's picture

corbiculate vs non corbiculate bees

one of the key associated differences is in the arrangement of hairs on the hind tibia. In the Honey bee the hairs are around the edge, forming a basket (=corbicula in Latin, hence corbiculate bees) whereas in non-corbiculate Andrenidae the hind tibia (and femur) have a covering of dense hairs or scopa. It seems to me that since they have less hairs on the hind tibia it is necessary for honey bees to moisten the pollen mass so it sticks in the pollen basket, whereas andrenids can lodge the pollen between the close packed hairs of the scopa, and so it does not need to be so consolidated.

Matt Smith's picture

Solitary bee

I would guess at a somewhat worn Andrena chrysosceles looking at the slightly shaded wings and the plant it is on.

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grant burleigh's picture

Pollen comparison: Honey Bee vs. Mining Bee

Thanks for these comments