I first observed this small native bee working my coriander flowers last week. Clearly it is different from the nine other bees found at ‘Bellis’, helping to pollinate crops.
Its identity has since been confirmed by Dr Ken Walker, Museum Victoria, to whom I am very grateful:
”Your native bee belongs to the Family Halictidae and in the genus Homalictus. I am positive of those two identifications whereas placing to species is difficult based on a photo alone; however, my tentative species ID would be Homalictus flindersi.
There are only two groups of native bee groups that have their primary pollen carrying areas on the underneath of the abdomen: (1) The entire family Megachilidae which are the leaf cutter or mortar bees. These are large and robust bees but never display any metallic markings; (2) The genus Homalictus. In your first image, you can clearly see the yellow mass on the under surface of the bee’s abdomen – called the gaster. The metallic thorax (called the mesoscutum) is also characteristic of many Homalictus species. The gastral and mesoscutal colours as well as what I can see of the sculpture on the mesoscutum is why I have punted for “flindersi”.
Hope that helps.
Dr Ken Walker
Senior Curator of Entomology
Museum Victoria, Melbourne.
Dr Walker has now published images I took of this bee on the PaDIL website, a federal website initiative of high quality images and information tools designed for Biosecurity and Biodiversity.
This bee now brings the ‘Bellis’ checklist of visiting and resident animals to 253 species:
‘Bellis’ bee checklist:
* Halictid bee, Homalictus flindersi, first observed and photographed on coriander flowers, 10.8.11;
* Leafcutter Bee, Megachile inermis; observed April – May feeding on pigeon pea nectar and identified by CSIRO entomologist, and native bee keeper, Tim Heard, 3.5.08;
* Chalicodoma bee; also feeding on pigeon pea and identified by Tim Heard, 3.5.08;
* Carpenter bee, Xylocopa aruana;
* Blue-banded bee, Amegilla cingulata
* Stingless bee, Trigona carbonaria – tiny, black, lives in colonies (often in small hollows of trees);
* Leafcutter bee, Megachile sp., found on washing line;
* Teddy bear bee, Amegilla cingulata – found pollinating Austromyrtus dulcis 30.11.07;
* Neon cuckoo bee, Thyreus nitidulus; Australia-wide – shiny black and turquoise- see images. Noticed visiting Pigeon pea flowers April 2008;
*European honeybee, Apis mellifera, European honeybee;
16th August 2011