Unusual host plant of Hoplitis pici, a bee with hooked bristles on its mouthparts (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae: Osmiini)

Andreas MULLER
2006 European Journal of Entomology  
Hoplitis pici (Friese, 1899) is a rare species of bee occurring in southeast Europe, Turkey and the Near East. The females are equipped with conspicuous hooked bristles on the galeae of the proboscis. Microscopical analysis of both pollen contained in the abdominal scopa and sticking to the bodies of females indicates a distinct preference of H. pici for the flowers of Muscari Miller (Hyacinthaceae), which are characterized by having the anthers completely hidden within an urn-shaped corolla.
more » ... n-shaped corolla. Field observations showed that the specialized bristles serve to scrape pollen out of the Muscari flowers. Specialized bristles aiding female bees to extract pollen from narrow flower tubes must have independently evolved at least eight times in osmiine bees. H. pici is the only osmiine species known to use its pollen-harvesting bristles to exploit host plants other than narrow-tubed Boraginaceae.
doi:10.14411/eje.2006.064 fatcat:yhykvvxir5afpfd3q66wuzsgui