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View Thread :: Identification queries :: Other insects, spiders, etc.
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Bees or bumblebees?
#1 Print Post
Posted on 12-02-2008 00:11
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Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Posts: 557
Joined: 24.08.07

I'm having trouble in the identification of black bees (or bumblebees?) which I thought were all ''Xylocopa violacea''. However, someone assured me they were not. Here they are, together with my best guess:

#1 - Xylocopa violacea ?
#2 - Anthophora plumipes ?
#3 - Bombus sp.?

Thank you,

Joaquim Gaspar
Alvesgaspar attached the following image:

#2 Print Post
Posted on 12-02-2008 00:11
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Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Posts: 557
Joined: 24.08.07

2nd photo: Anthophora plumipes?
Alvesgaspar attached the following image:

#3 Print Post
Posted on 12-02-2008 00:12
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Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Posts: 557
Joined: 24.08.07

... and last one: Bombus sp. (but which one) ?
Alvesgaspar attached the following image:

#4 Print Post
Posted on 12-02-2008 07:14
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Location: Paris (France)
Posts: 1098
Joined: 21.04.05


For me, the two last ones are X. violacea male (see the reddish tip of the antennas). For the first one, it is more difficult, since one doesn't see the antennas.
Pierre Duhem
#5 Print Post
Posted on 12-02-2008 11:44
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Location: Viseu - PORTUGAL
Posts: 9175
Joined: 05.06.06

Xylocopa sp. at least. We have more Xylocopa Pierre. Smile I don?t know if there are other Xylocopa with that red tip, though.
#6 Print Post
Posted on 12-02-2008 13:41
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Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Posts: 557
Joined: 24.08.07

Are you sure, Jorge? I read that Xylocopa don't have the hairy abdomens of pics 2 and 3. Also, the eyes reaching the jaws and the rust-coloured pollen brushes in the hind legs (pic 2) are typical of Anthophora plumipes
Susan R Walter
#7 Print Post
Posted on 12-02-2008 15:00
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Location: Touraine du Sud, central France
Posts: 1715
Joined: 14.01.06

The middle one is definitely not Anthophora plumipes. They do not have darkened wings and are just a different shape altogether.

Christian Schmid-Egger
#8 Print Post
Posted on 12-02-2008 17:27

Location: Germany, Berlin
Posts: 233
Joined: 05.08.05

Okay, so I will add a forth opinion. The results in brief (and therefore I can confirme Pierre and Susan):

All specimens are Xylocopa. Specimen in the middle and below is a male of X. violacea, above I cannot regonize sex or species. Males of X. violacea are unique in Europe by having second last flagellomeres read. Gaster is covered with small black setae (hairs), which in a special light may appear like a dense coat. Eyes does not reach mandible, there is a small space inbetween. Yellow pollen in legs is typical for all bees visting flowers with yellow pollen (there are no typical pollen storing brushes on photos).
Most common Xylocopa species in Europe are violacea, valga and iris, in Spain and Portugal are some more, very rare species, I have to look in a list for species names.

Anthophora never has such black wings with violet lustre, but some Andrena and other genera have. Also, there is no all black Bombus in
Europe, but 2-3 Anthophora species. But, they look different. See, Anthophora retusa and black form of plumipes.
Did I forgot anything?

Regards. Christian
More Hymenoptera Photos on,
#9 Print Post
Posted on 12-02-2008 22:23
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Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Posts: 557
Joined: 24.08.07

No, Christian, you did not forget anything. Thank you very much to all of you Grin
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