Afranthidium

Taxonomy

Family: Megachilidae
Subfamily: Megachilinae
Tribe: Anthidiini
Genus: Afranthidium Michener, 1948
Subgenera: Afranthidium sensu stricto, Capanthidium, Domanthidium, Mesanthidium, Nigranthidium, Oranthidium, Xenanthidium
Common name: African carder bee

Overview

Afranthidium are small to medium (5-10 mm) in length, with a robust body form (Michener 2007). The base color of their thorax and head is often black. The abdomen can be black or brown, usually with unbroken, cream to yellow bands on each tergite (Michener 2007).

Diversity

Afranthidium includes nearly 36 species worldwide, distributed in 7 subgenera (Michener 2007; Litman et al. 2016).

Diagnostic characteristics

(modified from Michener 2007)

May be confused with

Afranthidium can be difficult to separate from Anthidium and Pseudoanthidium, both of which co-occur, have simple male sterna, and can have similarly colored bands on the terga (Michener 2007). The body, especially the abdomen, is flatter than in Pseudoanthidium. Afranthidium sterna lack bristles and are not strongly concave (Michener 2007). The subgenera Capanthidium and Domanthidium are smaller than African Anthidium (Michener 2007).

Known invasives

There are no known invasives.

Host associations

Species of Afranthidium visit many different plants including Asteraceae, Aizoaceae, Boraginaceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae, and Malvaceae (Müller 1996; Gess and Gess 2007).

Nesting behavior

The nesting biology of most Afranthidium species is unknown. There are records of nesting in preexisting soil cavities and in empty shells of land snails (Gess and Gess 2008). Nests can be differentiated from the nests of Osmiini because Afranthidium often use white, cotton-like, plant fibers in their nests, similar to Anthidium and Pseudoanthidium.

Distribution

Nearly all Afranthidium subgenera are found in South Africa and Namibia, or in the subgenus Nigranthidium, only South Africa (Michener 2007). Mesanthidium, however, is found in the western Palearctic and east into central Asia (Michener 2007). Xenanthidium is only known from Cameroon (Michener 2007).

Distribution map generated by Discover Life -- click on map for details, credits, and terms of use.

<p>Fig 1, <em>Afranthidium karooense</em> male face, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fig 1, Afranthidium karooense male face, photo: C. Ritner
<p>Fig 2, <em>Afranthidium karooense</em> male lateral habitus, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fig 2, Afranthidium karooense male lateral habitus, photo: C. Ritner
<p>Fig 3, <em>Afranthidium karooense </em>male abdomen, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 3, Afranthidium karooense male abdomen, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 4, <em>Afranthidium tergoangulatum</em> female hairbands complete, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fig 4, Afranthidium tergoangulatum female hairbands complete, photo: C. Ritner
<p>Fig 5, <em>Afranthidium carduele</em> male T6 apical margin denticulate, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fig 5, Afranthidium carduele male T6 apical margin denticulate, photo: C. Ritner
<p>Fig 6, <em>Afranthidium folliculosum </em>female T6 apical margin denticulate, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fig 6, Afranthidium folliculosum female T6 apical margin denticulate, photo: C. Ritner
<p>Fig 7, <em>Afranthidium poecilodontum</em> male T7 with four apical projections, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fig 7, Afranthidium poecilodontum male T7 with four apical projections, photo: C. Ritner
<p>Fig 8, <em>Afranthidium rubellum</em> male T7 with lateral teeth, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fig 8, Afranthidium rubellum male T7 with lateral teeth, photo: C. Ritner