Anthidium oblongatum

Leaf-Cutter Bee
Anthidium oblongatum

Not native. From Mediterranean and central Asia. First found in New York 1994; eastern Pennsylvania in 1995; Ohio 1999; Ontario 2002; Michigan 2007; Illinois 2008; Colorado 2009; Washington 2012; Minnesota 2013. Although classed as leaf-cutters, females do not cut leaves, but strip fibers off leaves and stems of hairy plants.

Wool-carder Bee Anthidium oblongatum on Sedum Sept 04, 2016 Leamington, Ontario.
Wool-carder Bee Anthidium oblongatum on Sedum Sept 04, 2016 Leamington, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Black, covered with long, pale to white hair. Yellow spot behind each eye. Lower face (clypeus) yellow, sometimes with a pair of black spots. Mandibles yellow, toothed; tip reddish.
Thorax: Black. May have a yellow line above wing bases and yellow spots at end of thorax sometimes on female, but not on the male. Segment 2 (scutellum) has small, barely visible projecting points (axillae) at each side, yellow. White hair on thorax sides, thorax end and on underside.
Wings: Reddish wing knobs (tegulae) with yellow crescent on lower edge. Wings dark, veins black.

Wool-carder Bee Anthidium oblongatum male on Aster Sept 06, 2016 Leamington, Ontario.
Wool-carder Bee Anthidium oblongatum male on Aster Sept 06, 2016 Leamington, Ontario.

Legs: Thighs (femora) black with varying amounts of yellow or red at tips. Hind thigh sometimes entirely reddish-yellow. Shins squarish, mostly yellow with some brown streaks. Feet (very long on male) yellow to yellowish-orange, toes reddish-brown. Both male and female have short white fringe on underside of all legs.
Abdomen: Black with yellow stripes interrupted at centre, progressively smaller interrupts to tip. Female tip rounded and underside of abdomen covered with whitish hair (pollen basket).

Wool-carder Bee Anthidium oblongatum male on Aster Sept 06, 2016 Leamington, Ontario.
Wool-carder Bee Anthidium oblongatum male on Aster Sept 06, 2016 Leamington, Ontario.

Male stripes on segments 1 and 2 are curved and narrowed much more than female. Fringe all along side edges of abdomen. Last segment has very a very small projection or point at each side edge and at centre. Tip has wide indent at center (bi-lobed), not spines.

Similar Species: Anthidium manicatum has black wing knobs (tegulae) and is a larger bee (11 to 17 mm). Thorax has yellowish-brown hair, not white. The male A. manicatum has more broken up abdominal stripes, A. oblongatum always has solid stripes, only interrupted as centre. Leg colour is not a reliable ID.

Size: 8 to 9 mm.

Habitat: Dry, usually sandy areas.

Food: Nectar and pollen from a variety of flowers. Prefers Sedum.

Flight Time: August to September. (June to Sept. in Michigan).

Life Cycle: Cavity nesting in stone walls, rock gardens, sometimes in grapevine, rocky soils and debris. Overwinters as larva in a cocoon. Nests usually have up to eight cells and are lined with hairs collected off of plants such as Lamb’s Ear Stachys, Globe Thistles Echinops, Dusty Miller (bedding plant) and others. One generation per year.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies. Now widespread in southern Ontario.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

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