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Antophora - collecting nectar
Antophora - collecting nectar


Genera Anthophora and Amegilla
The genera Anthophora and Amegilla form a new genus in the family bees (Apidae), the order Hymenoptera , the superfamily Apoidea and the subfamily Anthophorinae. The German name for this new genus is “Pelzbienen” and could be translated as “fur bees”. Anthophora and Amegilla are found throughout the world and they are widespread in Central Europe where approximately 20 species can be found. Some species of the genus Anthophora are: Anthophora aestivalis, Anthophora bimaculata, Anthophora borealis, Anthophora crassipes, Anthophora fulvitarsis, Anthophora furcata, Anthophora plagiata, Anthophora plumipes, Anthophora pubescens, Anthophora quadrimaculata and Anthophora retusa. The genus Amegilla includes the species Amegilla quadrifasciata. In Germany there are 13 species of “fur” bees. The most common is the flower bee (Anthophora plumipes).
Bee width green eyes - Antophora - Flying
Bee width green eyes - Antophora - Flying
Anthophora and Amegilla are solitary bees which don’t build colonies. These bees can reach body lengths of 8-16 mm. Their bodies are compact, stocky and densely hairy and they resemble bumble bees. They have strikingly large compound eyes and simple eyes fixed to a ‘plinth’ between their antennae. .. Their upper jaws look like clamps. Their probosces are covered with bristles and allow them to collect pollen from long, narrow flowers. Their hind legs have dense fur, rust red to golden red in colour, which facilitates the collection and transport of pollen.
Antophora - side face
Antophora - side face
Anthophora and Amegilla prefer to build their nests on south-facing slopes with sparse vegetation and loamy soils. However, there are species that nest in rotten wood.
Antophora - photographed on Gomera
Antophora - photographed on Gomera
Adult Anthophora and Amegilla are active from March to June. They are often visible on deadnettle (Lamium) or on other species of the mint family (Lamiaceae), as well as on borage (Borago officinalis) and species of the primrose family (Primulaceae).

The females dig tunnels in loose soil for their nests. These tunnels are approximately 100 mm long and sometimes branched. It can happen that several females build their nests very close to each other. The nests are equipped with small chambersshaped like hazelnuts, which are smooth inside and treated with an antibiotic acting secretion. The front brood chamber is often filled with the food supply and is meant to divert parasites’ attention from the brood in the rear chambers.

Before oviposition occurs, the females fill the brood chambers with a puree of pollen and nectar, on which they lay their eggs ,in a small puddle of nectar. The hatched larvae feed on the puree until early autumn, thereafter they pupate within the brood chamber. They overwinter as pupae and hatch as adult bees in March. Among the parasites who feed on the brood of Anthophora and Amegilla is the oil beetle Sitaris muralis. In march, the female Sitaris muralis beetles place an egg on the fur of hatched male Anthophora and Amegilla.

During mating the eggs are transferred to the fur of the female bees and are thus transported unnoticed into the bees’ nests. The hatched larvae of the oil beetle feed on the food stores and on the brood of the Anthophora and Amegilla bees.


Further chapters of "Anthophora & Amegilla"
- White-banded Digger Bee
Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Antophora - collecting nectar
2. Bee width green eyes - Antophora - Flying
3. Antophora - side face
4. Antophora - photographed on Gomera
Quick search: Anthophora - Amegilla - Bees - Species - Brood - Nests
Antophora - Genus - Pollen - Nectar - Eyes - Family - Feed - Females
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