Genus Hofferia

Thistles and knapweeds (Carduoideae) are the exclusive or near exclusive pollen source of the two species of Hofferia. Foto A. Krebs.

Biogeography and diversity

The genus Hofferia is confined to the Palaearctic region. It contains two species.

Phylogeny and classification

Hofferia is a member of the Heriades group and sister to the genus Stenoheriades (Praz et al., 2008b).

Nesting biology

Hofferia schmiedeknechti was observed to nest in beetle burrows in dead wood and to use resin partly mixed with small pebbles for nest construction (Tkalcu, 1984b; Müller & Trunz, 2014).

Flower preferences

Both Hofferia species appear to be strict oligoleges on Asteraceae with a near exclusive or even exclusive preference for Carduoideae.

Species accounts

Hofferia mauritanica (Lucas, 1849)

1849 Chelostoma mauritanicum Lucas, Exploration scientifique de l’Algérie, p. 205. Type material: Holotype f, “lac Tonga” [Algeria].-Combination Heriades mauritanicus (Lucas) in Friese (1911b: 16).

1897 Eriades obtusus Friese, Entomologische Nachrichten (Berlin), 23: 193. Type material: Lectotype m, by designation of Tkalcu (1984b: 21), “Algeria” [Algeria]; ZMHB (Berlin).-Synonymy in Alfken (1914: 126).

Distribution-Northern Africa: DZ, MA, TN.

Identification-Keys, Descriptions: Benoist (1928g: 333); Friese (1898);Tkalcu (1984b: 21); Müller & Trunz (2014: 178-179).

Nesting biology: Unknown.

Flower preferences: Oligolectic on Carduoideae (Asteraceae) (Müller & Trunz, 2014). Flower records: Centaurea, Galactites, Onopordum (label information).

Hofferia schmiedeknechti (Schletterer, 1889)

1889 Chelostoma schmiedeknechti Schletterer, Zoologisches Jahrbuch für Systematik, 4: 638. Type material: Holotype f, “Süd-Ungarn (Mehadia)” [Romania], HNHM (Budapest). Type species of Hofferia Tkalcu.-Combination Heriades schmiedeknechti (Schletterer) in Friese (1911b: 22).

1928 Heriades tumida Benoist, Bulletin du Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle Paris, 34: 332. Type material: Holotype m, “Taurus” [Turkey], MNHN (Paris).-Synonymy in Zanden (1989: 80).

1928 Heriades gibba Benoist, Bulletin du Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle Paris, 34: 333. Type material: Holotype m, “Taurus” [Turkey], MNHN (Paris).-Synonymy in Zanden (1989: 80).

Distribution-Europe: BG, GR, MK, RO. Southwestern Asia: IL, JOR, SYR, TR.

Identification-Keys, Descriptions: Tkalcu (1984b: 15-19, 21); Müller & Trunz (2014: 178-179). Misapplication: Heriades schmiedeknechti in Alfken (1936b: 7) is Chelostoma petersi (Tkalcu).

Nesting biology-Nesting site: Preexisting cavities: insect burrows in dead wood. Nesting material: The nests are closed with a thick plug of resin on the inside and a mixture of resin, soil and small pebbles on the outside; resin is also used for the construction of the thin walls that separate the linearly arranged brood cells. (Tkalcu, 1984b; Müller & Trunz, 2014; Rozen and Praz, 2016)

Flower preferences: Oligolectic on Carduoideae; one pollen load also contained pollen of Asteroideae, suggesting that flowers of this subfamily are occasionally exploited as well (Müller & Trunz, 2014). Flower records: Carduus, Onopordum (Tkalcu, 1984b); Centaurea, Silybum (Müller & Trunz, 2014).