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Nests, Floral Preferences, and Immatures of the Bee Haetosmia vechti (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae: Osmiini)

2014-7-21, Gotlieb, Ariella, Pisanty, Gideon, Rozen, Jerome G, Gideon, Mueller, Andreas, Röder, Gregory, Sedivy, Claudio, Praz, Christophe

Herein we describe the nests (including structure, closure, orientation, and depth of cells) of the bee Haetosmia vechti Peters found nesting in Rehovot, Israel. The nesting biology of H. vechti mirrors the ancestral nesting biology within the Osmia group of the Osmiini. Nests in sandy soil consist of an excavated burrow, ending below in a small cluster of vertical cells. The cells possess firm walls of masticated leaf pulp of Centaurea procurrens Spreng. and Heliotropium suaveolens M. Bieb., and are covered with pebbles and sand grains. The last larval instar and pupa of Haetosmia vechti are described, as is its cocoon. The "immature stages exhibit the basic features of megachilid bees, but tend to have a thinner body vestiture compared to other studied taxa. In addition, we report new information on and review published accounts concerning the pollen collecting behavior of the genus Haetosmia Popov, which contains three species. Pollen taken from scopal hairs of 68 females collected at 17 sites in Turkestan, Morocco, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates was identified as originating solely from Heliotropium L. (Boraginaceae), which strongly suggests that all three Haetosmia species are narrowly oligolectic on this plant genus. In females of all three species, the second segment of the labial palpus is densely covered with rather long, apically curved and capitate bristles, an adaptation to collect Heliotropium pollen from anthers that are hidden inside the narrow corolla tube. Similar pollen-harvesting bristles specifically adapted to exploit flowers of He/iotropium seem to have evolved independently a number of times on different continents, in bees of four families.