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Sphecodogastra antiochensis, Antioch sphedogogastra bee

  • A.) Species Biology:

* dark brown bee

* pale yellow hair in the head and thorax

* 8.8-9.5 mm long

* elongated heads and slender bodies

* pale yellowish brown wings, 2.6-3.0 mm long

B.) Natural History:

* Geographic Range:

- Antioch Dunes of Contra Costa County, California.

*Temporal Range:

- March to October.

- females fly from March-August.

- males fly from May-October.

* Foraging behavior:

- specialized foragers on the Antioch Dunes evening-primrose (Oenothera

deltoides var. howellii).

- early in the season, they collect pollen and nectar during both daily flight periods.

- later in the season, they collect pollen primarily in the morning and forage mainly for nectar

in the evening.

- possibly due to the fact that the evening-primrose flowers open later in the evening.

* Nesting behavior:

- they nest in the ground, in stabilized sand dunes in dry, open areas.

- they have a slight tendency towards nesting in aggregations with up to seven burrows per

square meter.

  • Current Status:

* Critically Imperiled

* California Endangered Species Act does not allow listing of insects, so regardless of its status, Sphecodogastra antiochensis has no protection under state legislation.

  • Threats:

* habitat destruction due to industrial development and sand mining.

* habitat degradation due to off-road vehicle use, invasive plant species, and fire control activities.

* small population size.

  • Current Conservation Efforts:

* the Antioch Dunes Refuge was created in 1980 by the USFWS to protect the habitat of the Lange's metalmark butterfly (Apodemia mormo langei), the Contra Costa wallflower (Erysimum capitatum ssp. angustatum), and Antioch Dunes evening primrose (Oenothera deltoides ssp. howellii).

* nothing has been done to directly help the Sphecodogastra antiochensis populations.

  • Future Prospects:

* pretty grim (in my opinion).


Written by: Darney Liz Osepa, 2006

Image credit: NA