Fidelia

Taxonomy

Family: Megachilidae
Subfamily: Fideliinae
Tribe: Fideliini
Genus: Fidelia Friese, 1899
Subgenera: Fidelia, Fideliana, Fideliopsis, Parafidelia
Common name: none

Overview

Fidelia are robust bees that can range in body length from 12–23 mm (Michener 2007). The integument of the body is black, with some species having yellow on the clypeus of both sexes and T6 of females. They have an overall pale appearance due to the dense, long, and light-colored hairs that cover the body (Michener 2007). The basitarsi and tibia bear long hairs that resemble scopa; however, the setae are not used for pollen gathering and instead assist in throwing loosened substrates out of the burrow during nest construction. Pollen is carried with the scopa on the ventral surface of the abdomen as in most Megachilidae (Michener 2007).

Diversity

Fidelia contains 12 species in 4 subgenera worldwide (Michener 2007); none are known to occur in the U.S. or Canada.

Diagnostic characteristics

(modified from Michener 2007)

May be confused with

Fidelia is similar to Neofidelia; however, both sexes can be distinguished by the characters of the hind basitarsus. Neofidelia males have enlarged and modified basitarsi that form two large talons, while the basitarsi of Fidelia are not modified. The hind basitarsi of Neofidelia are parallel-sided, which differs from those of Fidelia that have basitarsi that taper toward the apex (Michener 2007).

Known invasives

There are no known invasives.

Host associations

Species within Fidelia are often specialized, although specific pollen preferences vary by species. Members of Fidelia may be specialized on Rosaceae, Zygophyllaceae, Aizoaceae, Pedaliceae, Asteraceae, and Convolvulaceae (Whitehead 1984; Engel 2004). The subgenus Fidelia specializes on the Aizoaceae subfamily Mesembryanthemoidea (Whitehead 1984).

Nesting behavior

Female Fidelia excavate branched shallow burrows in the soil (Michener 2007). The nest branches terminate in unlined cells that are widened and dug horizontally. Pollen provisions are moistened and packed into the end of each cell (Rozen 1977). The female uses her modified pygidium to sculpt the provisional mass into a dish-like shape, and oviposits an egg into the convex mass. In F. pallidula, additional pollen provisions are laid on top of the provisions already in place, leaving an open chamber for the egg. Two to three layers of provisions may be built on top of one another with an egg chamber in between each layer (Rozen 1977).

Distribution

Fidelia occurs in southern Africa, from Namibia and Botswana to South Africa, along xeric areas. Fidelia ulrikei is endemic to Morocco (Michener 2007).

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

<p><em>Fidelia kobrowi </em>female face, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fidelia kobrowi female face, photo: C. Ritner
<p><em>Fidelia paradoxa </em>female lateral habitus, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fidelia paradoxa female lateral habitus, photo: C. Ritner
<p><em>Fidelia paradoxa </em>female abdomen, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fidelia paradoxa female abdomen, photo: C. Ritner