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Anthophora occidentalis Cresson, 1869


Scientific Name: Anthophora occidentalis Cresson, 1869

Common Name: Western Digger Bee


Anthophora occidentalis Cresson, 1869: 292 [♀, ♂].

     Lectotype ♀, designated by Cresson (1916: 126). USA, Colorado, by Ridings [ANSP no. 2277].


DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN): BOLD:AAE6954

Biology: Hobbs et al. (1961) studied its nesting biology in vertical banks in southern Alberta (see Figs. 3 and 4). Other studies of nesting biology and inquilines include Mickel (1928), Porter (1950, 1951), who provided detailed illustrations of the immature stages of A. occidentalis and one of its cuckoos, Brachmelecta californica (Cresson, 1878), and Morteza (1964). Batra (1972) studied the nest building secretions, indicating these consist of polymerized lipids.

Schneider (1982) reported both A. occidentalis and A. abrupta Say, 1837 using the same nesting site, the latter species usually constructing multi-celled nests within vacated burrows and frequently switching nests after a single day; A. abrupta also did not building the mud chimney at the nest entrance which is typical for the subgenus (Rau 1929; Porter 1951; Brooks 1988). By contrast, A. occidentalis excavated nests and constructed a chimney at the nest entrance (Fig. 4), but many nests contained only a single brood cell (Schneider 1982). Although both species occur in Canada, they have been reported in the west (BC-MB) and east (ON-QC).

Anthophora occidentalis serves as the host of Triepeolus dacotensis (Stevens, 1919) (Torchio 1986). Torchio (1986) described the eggs of both species in detail.

Distribution in Canada: Gibson 1915 [AB]; Hobbs et al. 1961 [AB]; Moreteza 1963 [BC, AB]; Evans 2013 [AB]; Sheffield et al. 2014 [AB, SK, MB]; Sheffield and Heron 2019 [BC]; Gibbs et al. 2023 [MB]; Onuferko et al. 2023 [AB].





Sheffield CS, Frier SD, Dumesh D (2014) The bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea, Apiformes) of the Prairies Ecozone, with comparisons to other grasslands of Canada. In: Giberson DJ, Cárcamo HA (Eds) Arthropods of Canadian Grasslands (Volume 4): Biodiversity and Systematics Part 2. 4. Biological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, 479 pp. [ISBN 978-0-9689321-7-9].

Gibbs J, Hanuschuk E, Miller R, Dubois M, Martini M, Robinson S, Nakagawa P, Sheffield CS, Onuferko T (2023) A checklist of the bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of Manitoba, Canada. The Canadian Entomologist 155: E3.

Sheffield CS, Heron JM (2019) The bees of British Columbia (Hymenoptera: Apoidea, Apiformes). Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 115: 44-85.

Cresson ET (1916) The Cresson types of Hymenoptera. Memoirs of the American Entomological Society 1: 1-141.

Brooks RW (1988) Systematics and phylogeny of anthophorine bees (Hymenoptera; Anthophoridae: Anthophorini). The University of Kansas Science Bulletin 53(9): 437-575.

Cresson ET (1869) A list of the North American species of the genus Anthophora, with descriptions of new species. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 2: 289-293.

Rau P (1929) The biology and behavior of mining bees, Anthophora abrupta and Entechnia taurea. Psyche 36(3): 155-181.

Hobbs GA, Nummi WO, Virostek JF (1961) Anthophora occidentalis Cress. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and its associates at a nesting site in southern Alberta. The Canadian Entomologist 93(2): 142-148.

Mickel CE (1928) The biotic factors in the environmental resistance of Anthophora occidentalis Cress. (Hym.: Apidae: Dip., Coleop.). Entomological News 39(3): 69-78.

Onuferko TM, Buck M, Gibbs J, Sokoloff PC (2023) Asymmetric responses by bees and aculeate wasps to dune stabilisation across the southern Canadian prairies Insect Diversity and Conservation 16:

Evans MM (2013) Influences of grazing and landscape on bee pollinators and their floral resources in rough fescue prairie. MSc Thesis, University of Calgary. ix + 119 pp.

Gibson A (1915) The entomological record, 1914. Annual Report of the Entomological Society of Ontario 45: 123-150.

Schneider SS (1982) The simultaneous use of a nesting site by the digger bees, Anthophora abrupta Say and A. occidentalis Cresson (Hymenoptera: Anthophoridae). Southwestern Naturalist 27(4): 467-468.

Torchio PF (1986) Late embryogenesis and egg eclosion in Triepeolus and Anthophora with a prospectus of nomadine classification (Hymenoptera: Anthophoridae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 79(4): 588-596.

Batra SWT (1972) Some properties of the nest-building secretions of Nomia, Anthophora, Hylaeus and other bees. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 45(2): 208-218.

Porter JC (1951) Notes on the digger-bee Anthophora occidentalis, and its inquilines. Iowa State Journal of Science 26: 23-30.

Morteza E (1963) Biological studies of Anthophora occidentalis, Cress. (Hymenoptera: Anthophoridae) and its natural enemies in Utah. PhD Thesis, Utah State University.

Porter JC (1950) Some notes on the bio-relationship of the digger-bee, Anthophora occidentalis, and certain insect inquilines. PhD Thesis, Texas Tech University, v + 36 pp.

Sociality: Solitary
Nesting: Ground
Pollen Specialization: Polylectic

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Not Available

Distribution: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan
Ecozone: Prairie, Western Interior Basin

Figure 1. Female <em>Anthophora occidentalis</em> Cresson; lateral view
Figure 1. Female Anthophora occidentalis Cresson; lateral view
Figure 2. Male <em>Anthophora occidentalis</em> Cresson; lateral view
Figure 2. Male Anthophora occidentalis Cresson; lateral view
Figure 3. <em>Anthophora occidentalis</em> Cresson nesting site in vertical bank.
Figure 3. Anthophora occidentalis Cresson nesting site in vertical bank.
Figure 4. Female <em>Anthophora occidentalis</em> Cresson building a nest in Avonlea, SK.
Figure 4. Female Anthophora occidentalis Cresson building a nest in Avonlea, SK.