Subgenus Neosmia

The subgenus Neosmia Tkalcu is confined to the Palaearctic region. It contains 8 species. 1 species is still undescribed (A. Müller, unpublished).

Osmia (Neosmia) bicolor (Schrank, 1781): Pile of pine needles completely covering the nest in an empty snail shell (left); opened nest with the feeding larva and the nest plug composed of pebbles and earth crumbs (right). Foto A. Krebs.

Species accounts

Osmia (Neosmia) cinnabarina Pérez, 1895

1895 Osmia cinnabarina Pérez, Espèces nouvelles de mellifères de Barbarie, p. 10. Type material: Lectotype f, by designation of Tkalcu (1977a: 93), “Tlemcen” [Algeria], MNHN (Paris).-Combination Osmia (Osmia) cinnabarina Pérez in Friese (1911b: 88).

Distribution-Northern Africa: DZ, E(Ca), MA, TN. Southwestern Asia: IL.

Identification-Keys, Descriptions: Ducke (1900); Peters (1975: 54-55); Tkalcu (1977a, 1993b: 815).

Nesting biology: Preexisting cavities: empty snail shells. The only nest discovered so far was in a shell with a diameter of 15mm and contained three cells. Nesting material: The partitions between the cells are made of chewed leaves. The outermost cell is closed by a nest plug consisting of a thin wall made of leaf pulp followed by densely packed particles (small pebbles, fragments of snail shells, pieces of petals and stems) on a length of 0.5cm and again followed by a thin wall of leaf pulp. The presence of few shell fragments and small pebbles glued together with leaf pulp in front of the outermost wall suggest that the nest was not yet finalized. The shell surface is plastered with patches of leaf pulp. (A. Müller, personal observation)

Flower preferences: Polylectic; pollen sources include Fabaceae, Reseda (Resedaceae), Brassicaceae, Cistaceae and Cichorioideae (Asteraceae) (A. Müller, unpublished, based on 14 pollen samples from 9 different localities).

Osmia (Neosmia) gracilicornis Pérez, 1895

1895 Osmia gracilicornis Pérez, Espèces nouvelles de mellifères de Barbarie, p. 10. Type material: Lectotype f, by designation of Tkalcu (1974b: 335), “Tunis” [Tunisia], MNHN (Paris). Type species of Neosmia Tkalcu.-Combination Osmia (Osmia) gracilicornis Pérez in Friese (1911b: 88).

Distribution-Northern Africa: DZ, MA, TN. Southwestern Asia: IL.

Identification-Keys, Descriptions: Ducke (1900); Tkalcu (1974b: 334, 1977a).

Nesting biology-Nesting site: Preexisting cavities: empty snail shells. The only nest discovered so far was in a shell with a diameter of 15mm and contained three cells. Nesting material: The partitions between the cells are made of chewed leaves. The outermost cell is closed by a nest plug consisting of a thin wall made of leaf pulp followed by densely packed particles (small pebbles, fragments of snail shells, pieces of petals and stems) on a length of 0.5cm and again followed by a thin wall of leaf pulp. The presence of few shell fragments and small pebbles glued together with leaf pulp in front of the outermost wall suggest that the nest was not yet finalized. The shell surface is plastered with patches of leaf pulp. (A. Müller, personal observation)

Flower preferences: Polylectic; pollen sources recorded so far are Brassicaceae, Cistaceae, Fabaceae, Asteraceae (Asteroideae, Carduoideae and Cichorioideae) and Boraginaceae (e.g. Echium) (A. Müller, unpublished, based on 16 pollen samples from 10 different localities).

Osmia (Neosmia) purpurata Ducke, 1899

1899 Osmia purpurata Ducke, Entomologische Nachrichten (Berlin), 25: 215. Type material: Syntypes ff, “Algerien” [Algeria], ZMHB (Berlin), presumed lost (Tkalcu, 1977a: 93).-Combination Osmia (Osmia) purpurata Ducke in Friese (1911b: 88).

Distribution-Northern Africa: DZ.

Identification-Keys, Descriptions: Ducke (1900); Tkalcu (1977a).

Nesting biology: Unknown.

Flower preferences: Unknown.

Osmia (Neosmia) rufigastra Lepeletier, 1841

1841 Osmia rufigastra Lepeletier, Histoire Naturelle des Insectes, Hyménoptères, vol. 2, p. 324 [not seen]. Type material: Lectotype f, by designation of Tkalcu (1977a: 92), “Oran” [Algeria], MNHN (Paris).-Combination Osmia (Helicosmia) rufigastra Lepeletier in Schmiedeknecht (1885: 92 [888]). Combination Osmia (Osmia) rufigastra Lepeletier in Friese (1911b: 107). Combination Osmia (Diceratosmia) rufigastra Lepeletier in Michener (1941: 162).

Distribution-Northern Africa: DZ, MA, TN.

Identification-Keys, Descriptions: Ducke (1900); Schmiedeknecht (1885-1886); Tkalcu (1977a).

Nesting biology-Nesting site: Preexisting cavities: empty snail shells (e.g. Helix) with one to several cells. The closed shells are transported to a suitable place and buried into the sandy ground (6-8cm deep), before the upper 2-3cm of the burrow are filled with sand. Nesting material: The partitions between the cells are made of chewed leaves. The outermost cell is closed by a nest plug consisting of a thin wall made of leaf pulp followed by densely packed particles (sand grains, earth crumbs, pieces of stems and blades, fragments of snail shells) on a length of 0.75cm and a final wall consisting of shell fragments cemented together with leaf pulp. The shell surface is plastered with patches of leaf pulp. (Ferton, 1920)

Flower preferences: Unknown.

Osmia (Neosmia) scutispina Gribodo, 1894

1894 Osmia scutispina Gribodo, Bullettino della Società Entomologica Italiana, 26: 102. Type material: Syntypes ff, “Boghari, Ponteba” [Algeria], MSNG (Genova).

1920 Osmia rosea Friese, Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift (Berlin), 1920: 50. Type material: Lectotype m, by designation of Tkalcu (1977a: 93), “Tunis merid.” [Tunisia], ZMHB (Berlin).-Synonymy in Tkalcu (1977a: 93).

Distribution-Northern Africa: DZ,TN.

Identification-Keys, Descriptions: Ducke (1900); Tkalcu (1977a).

Nesting biology-Nesting site: Preexisting cavities: empty snail shells. The only two nests detected so far contained six cells each and were neither buried into the ground nor turned in a protective position. Nesting material: Cell partitions and nest plug are made of chewed leaves. The space between the partition of the outermost cell and the nest plug is very loosely filled with small pebbles, earth crumbs, leaflets or seeds. The shell surface is plastered with patches of leaf pulp. (C. Sedivy, C. Praz & A. Müller, personal observation)

Flower preferences: Polylectic; pollen sources recorded so far are Fabaceae, Cistaceae, Asteraceae (Cichorioideae), Lamiaceae and Brassicaceae (A. Müller, unpublished, based on 3 pollen samples from 3 different localities and the pollen content of 12 brood cells of two nests from the same locality).

Osmia (Neosmia) tingitana Benoist, 1969

1969 Osmia tingitana Benoist, Bulletin de la Société Entomologique de France, 74: 243. Type material: Lectotype m, by designation of Zanden (1986: 74), “Tanger” [Morocco], MNHN (Paris); paralectotypes mm.

1977 Osmia (Neosmia) tkalcui Peters, Entomologische Zeitschrift (Stuttgart), 87: 22. Type material: Holotype m, “Cyrenaica” [Libya], SMFD (Frankfurt); paratypes mm, ff.-Synonymy in Zanden (1986: 74).

Distribution-Northern Africa: DZ, ET, LAR, MA, TN.

Identification-Keys, Descriptions: Tkalcu (1977a); Zanden (1986: 74).

Nesting biology-Nesting site: Preexisting cavities: empty snail shells. Nesting material: Unknown. (Peters, 1977; label data)

Flower preferences: Polylectic; pollen sources recorded so far are Fabaceae, Cistaceae, Asteraceae (Asteroideae, Carduoideae) and Brassicaceae (A. Müller, unpublished, based on 9 pollen samples from 3 different localities).

- subspecies secunda Peters, 1977

1977 Osmia (Neosmia) tkalcui secunda Peters, Entomologische Zeitschrift (Stuttgart), 87: 25. Type material: Holotype m, “Tripolitania, Garian, ca. 2500 Fuss” [Libya], BMNH (London).

Distribution-Northern Africa: LAR.

Identification-Keys, Descriptions: No supplementary or more detailed morphological description known. Note: Female unknown.

- subspecies tingitana Benoist, 1969

1969 Automatically established nominotypical subspecific taxon (original description and type specimen are identical with those of the species rank taxon of the same name above).

Distribution-Northern Africa: DZ, ET, LAR,MA, TN.

Identification-Keys, Descriptions: Tkalcu (1977a); Zanden (1986: 74).

bicolor species group

Osmia (Neosmia) bicolor (Schrank, 1781)

1781 Apis bicolor Schrank, Enumeratio Insectorum Austriae Indigenorum, p. 400. Type material: f(f), “Viennae” [Austria], presumed lost (Tkalcu, 1977a: 97).-Combination Osmia (Helicosmia) bicolor (Schrank) in Schmiedeknecht (1885: 22 [888]).

1785 Apis rustica Geoffroy, in: Fourcroy, Entomologia Parisiensis, vol. 2, p. 451. Type material: f(f), “Paris” [France], presumed lost (Tkalcu, 1977a: 97).-Synonymy in Tkalcu (1977a: 97).

1791 Apis fusca Christ, Naturgeschichte, Klassification und Nomenclatur der Insekten, p. 182. NOMEN PRAEOCCUPATUM [not Apis fusca Scopoli, 1763]. Type material: No original material known, [Germany].-Synonymy in Warncke (1986: 99).

1791 Apis hirundinaria Christ, Naturgeschichte, Klassification und Nomenclatur der Insekten, p. 188. Type material: No original material known, [Germany].-Synonymy in Warncke (1986: 101).

1841 Osmia pyrenaea Lepeletier, Histoire Naturelle des Insectes, Hyménoptères, vol. 2, p. 319 [not seen]. Type material: f(f), “Pyrénées. Barèges” [France], MNHN (Paris).-Combination Osmia bicolor pyrenaea Lepeletier in Dalla Torre (1896: 387).-Synonymy in Pérez (1879: 175).

1857 Osmia fusca Gistel, Vacuna, 2: 537. NOMEN PRAEOCCUPATUM [not Apis fusca Christ, 1791]. Type material: No original material known, “Monachii” [Munich] [Germany].-Synonymy in Schwarz et al. (1996: 121).

1879 Osmia rufitarsis Smith, Description of New Species of Hymenoptera in the Collection of the British Museum, p. 61. Type material: Holotype f, “Angara River, Siberia” [Russia], BMNH (London).-Synonymy in Tkalcu (1995: 142).

1917 Osmia monachiensis Strand, Archiv für Naturgeschichte, 82: 98. NOMEN NOVUM with same type specimen for preoccupied Osmia fusca Gistel, 1857 [not Apis fusca Christ, 1791].

Distribution-Europe: A, AL, B, BG, CH, CZ, D, E, F, FIN, FL, GB, GE, H, HR, I, L, LT, N, NL, P, PL, RO, RUS, S, SCG, SK, SLO, UA. Northern Asia: RUS(ES); Turkestan.

Identification-Keys, Descriptions: Amiet et al. (2004); Banaszak and Romasenko (2001); Benoist (1931); Ducke (1900); Móczár (1958); Radoszkowski (1887a: 292); Scheuchl (1996); Schmiedeknecht (1885-1886); Tkalcu (1977a).

Nesting biology-Nesting site: Preexisting cavities: empty and generally medium-sized snail shells (e.g. Arianta, Cepaea, Crepidula, Fruticicola, Helicella, Monacha, Xerophila, rarely Helix) with mostly 1 cell, in rare cases with up to 5 cells. The closed shell is turned so that the shell opening is directed towards the ground before it is hidden under hundreds of pine needles, dry grass blades, fragments of dead leaves, scales from beech buds or wood particles. Occasionally, the females dig the shell 1.5cm deep into the ground before it is covered with vegetable matter. The report by Smith (1844) that O. bicolor commonly burrows in banks is surely wrong. Nesting material: Cell partitions between two cells are made of chewed leaves (e.g. from Potentilla, Fragaria, Glaucium, Ononis, Salix, Sanguisorba, Rosa, Polygonum, Vicia). The outermost cell is closed by a 1-2cm long nest plug consisting of one (rarely several) compartment with small pebbles, earth crumps, broken snail shells, pieces of chalk and wood particles densely packed between two partitions of leaf pulp. The shell surface is plastered with patches of leaf pulp. (Amiet, 1973; Banaszak and Romasenko, 2001; Bellmann, 1981; Benoist, 1931; Friese, 1897b, 1923; Graeffe, 1902; Grozdanic and Vasic, 1965; Müller et al., 1997; O’Toole and Raw, 1991; Schmiedeknecht, 1885-1886; Smith, 1844; Stoeckhert, 1933; Westrich, 1989; G. Else, unpublished manuscript)

Flower preferences: Polylectic; pollen sources recorded so far belong to 18 different families including Asteraceae (Amiet et al., 2004; Müller, 1991; Westrich, 1989; A. Müller, unpublished, based on 4 pollen samples from 4 different localities).

Osmia (Neosmia) jason Benoist, 1929

1929 Osmia Jason Benoist, Bulletin de la Société Entomologique de France, 1929: 95. Type material: Holotype f, “Comana Vlasca” [Romania], MNHN (Paris).

Distribution-Europe: BG, GR, MK, RO, SCG. Southwestern Asia: IL.

Identification-Keys, Descriptions: Tkalcu (1977a).

Nesting biology-Nesting site: Preexisting cavities: empty snail shells (e.g. Helix) with 2 cells. The closed shell is buried into the ground and the place where the shell was buried is covered with dried vegetable matter. Nesting material: The partitions between the cells are made of chewed leaves (e.g. from Crataegus). The outermost cell is closed by a long nest plug consisting of four compartments each limited by walls made of leaf pulp: the first compartment is empty, the second is filled with sandy earth and the third and fourth are filled with pebbles and earth crumbs. The shell surface is plastered with patches of leaf pulp. (Grozdanic, 1971)

Flower preferences: Unknown.