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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: What's in a Name? the Confusing Case of the Death Camas Bee, Andrena Astragali Viereck & Cockerell (Hymenoptera:andrenidae)

Author
item Tepedino, Vincent

Submitted to: Journal of Kansas Entomological Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2002
Publication Date: April 3, 2003
Citation: TEPEDINO, V.J. WHAT'S IN A NAME? THE CONFUSING CASE OF THE DEATH CAMAS BEE, ANDRENA ASTRAGALI VIERECK & COCKERELL (HYMENOPTERA:ANDRENIDAE). JOURNAL OF KANSAS ENTOMOLOGICAL SOCIETY. 2003. 76(2):194-197

Interpretive Summary: Many solitary bees specialize on collecting resources, particularly pollen, from a narrow group of closely related plant species. Usually, they are also important pollinators of these same plant species. An interesting example of this may be the native bee Andrena astragali. The epithet astragali, suggests strongly that A. astragali is primarily a collector of pollen, and an important pollinator, of frequently toxic range plants in the genus Astragalus (locoweed). However, most specimens of this bee have been collected primarily from one of several species of another toxic range plant, death camas (Zigadenus). To determine the preferred host plant of this solitary, ground-nesting bee, pollen loads were examined and pollen species identified from 70 females collected over 60 years from four states (CA, ID, UT, WY). At all sites, in all years, A. astragali is a pollen-collecting specialist of the putatively toxic death camas (Zigadenus: Liliaceae); species of locoweed (Astragalus: Leguminosae) are visited occasionally, but probably only for nectar.

Technical Abstract: To determine the preferred host plant of the solitary, ground-nesting bee Andrena astragali, pollen loads were examined and pollen species identified from 70 females collected over 60 years from four states (CA, ID, UT, WY). At all sites, in all years, Andrena astragali is a pollen-collecting specialist of the putatively toxic death camas (Zigadenus: Liliaceae); species of locoweed (Astragalus: Leguminosae) are visited occasionally, probably for nectar.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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