Occurs from south-eastern Queensland to Victoria, mostly on and east of the Great Dividing Range. (NSW, QLD, VIC)
A medium-sized bee (body length about 11–12 mm) with a relatively hairless, black body and bright yellow markings on the thorax (a pair of round spots laterally and a pair of patches on the midline of the back). The female has a distinctive yellow patch in the middle of the face while the face of the male is almost wholly white. The male is unique in having the central area of the face wrinkled and defined laterally by long subantennal sutures (grooves) that curve outwards toward and close to the eyes. The tongue is short, broad and blunt in the female, but has a short median point in the male.
Ecology/Way of Life:
Females bore into dead, dry, pithy stems to make their nests. The majority of nests studied were in standing flower stalks of grass trees and fallen fronds of tree ferns. Like members of the genus Hylaeus, Amphylaeus (Amphylaeus) morosus builds brood cells using a salivary secretion that hardens into a clear cellophane-paper-like material. Cells are built end to end along a single burrow and each cell is about two thirds filled with a liquid mixture of pollen and honey. The bees establish nests solitarily but two or three sisters may construct and provision cells cooperatively when reusing old nest burrows (Spessa et al.2000).
Interaction with Humans/Threats:
No commercial value. Females may sting, but only if molested.
Amphylaeus (Amphylaeus) morosus (named by F. Smith in 1879 as a species of Prosopis). Based on Greek: amphi- = both + Hylaeus; Latin: morosus = gloomy.
Houston, T.F. (1975). A revision of the Australian hylaeine bees (Hymenoptera: Colletidae). I. Australian Journal of Zoology Supplementary Series 36: 1-135.
Spessa, A., Schwarz, M.P. & Adams, M. (2000). Sociality in Amphylaeus morosus (Hymenoptera: Colletidae: Hylaeinae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 93 (3): 684-692.
Text, images by Terry Houston. Map sourced from Houston (1975).
Note: Only the Eastern states of Australia; Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland (partial) are shown.
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