Afrostelis

Taxonomy

Family: Megachilidae
Subfamily: Megachilinae
Tribe: Anthidiini
Genus: Afrostelis Cockerell, 1931
Subgenera: none
Common name: none

Overview

Afrostelis are small, black bees with a slender, elongate build that range in length from 4–6 mm. They lack colored markings on the head, thorax, and abdomen (Michener 2007).

Diversity

Afrostelis contains approximately 6 species worldwide (Baker 1996; Pauly et al. 2001); none are known to occur in the U.S. or Canada.

Diagnostic characteristics

(modified from Michener 2007 unless otherwise stated)

May be confused with

Afrostelis looks similar to other cleptoparasitic anthidiines, such as Stelis, Austrostelis, Hoplostelis, Larinostelis, and Xenostelis. Afrostelis can be distinguished from these other genera by the combination of elongated scutum, posteriorly enlarged tegula, and male genitalia (Michener and Griswold 1994; Michener 2007).

Known invasives

There are no known invasives.

Host associations

Afrostelis is a cleptoparasite, but its host bees are unknown (Michener 2007). It has been suggested that Heriades is a possible host of Afrostelis (Michener 2007). Presumably, Afrostelis utilizes a wide variety of floral nectar resources for sustenance and relies on the pollen provisions of its host to provide for its young.

Nesting behavior

As a cleptoparasite, Afrostelis invades the nests of other bees and lays its eggs. The Afrostelis larvae depend on the pollen provisions gathered by the host for sustenance.

Distribution

Afrostelis occurs from Tanzania and Congo (Kinshasa) to Namibia and Cape Province, South Africa (Michener 2007).

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

<p>Fig 1, <em>Afrostelis aethiopica</em> female face, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fig 1, Afrostelis aethiopica female face, photo: C. Ritner
<p>Fig 2, <em>Afrostelis aethiopica</em> female lateral habitus, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fig 2, Afrostelis aethiopica female lateral habitus, photo: C. Ritner
<p>Fig 3, <em>Afrostelis aethiopica</em> female abdomen, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 3, Afrostelis aethiopica female abdomen, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 4, <em>Afrostelis sp.</em> tegula, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fig 4, Afrostelis sp. tegula, photo: C. Ritner