Tuesday 10 April 2012

Red Mason bee male checking out Melecta

A Melecta albifrons male has been feeding lazily on the Erysimum in the afternoon a sunny day.  Clambering over the flowers, not bothering to fly, this cleptoparasitic bee behaves in a very different way to its host: the buzzing, hovering, always alert Anthophora plumipes. Red Mason bee (Osmia rufa) males are patrolling the flowers and they check everything vaguely looking like a Red Mason bee female. With their contact, they scare away females A. plumipes - which I guess feel harassed like they do when their own males jump on them. A male Osmia rufa sees the Melecta and jumps on it. Just a quick contact, presumably chemical cues are checked and if not right, the bee flies away. The Melecta stays on. And when I check the camera, I am thrilled I got the shot!
Melecta albifrons male (photos 26/03/2012). They are handsome bees.


Rob said...

It's great to catch this interaction - well done.

Africa Gomez said...

Thank you Rob. I think I only did because Melecta is too slow and didn't react fast enough to the Red Mason Bee!