Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Native bee

A native bee, possibly Lithurgus sp.
Since getting a macro lens for my camera I have, of course, spent much more time looking at insects, and found bees, wasps and dragonflies to be of particular interest. In Canberra I don't think I ever noticed any bees other than the introduced honey bee (Apis meliferra) and large carpenter bees, which at the time I mistakenly thought were bumblebees. Bumblebees have been introduced to Tasmania, but are not on the mainland.

Australia has over 1,500 species of bees, and identification is difficult. They are only covered briefly in A field guide to Insects in Australia, and even more briefly in Wildlife of Tropical North Queensland. The only dedicated Australian bee book I can find is Native Bees of the Sydney Region: A Field Guide, which won't help much up here in the tropics.

This particular specimen may or may not be in the genus Lithurgus. Heck, it may or may not be in the family Megachilidae. I am 99.99% sure it is in the taxon Anthophila (i.e. a bee).

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