European wool carder bee

I am very lucky to have a good friend living in St. Johns, Newfoundland. I have known Terrance Hounsell for many years and it is always a pleasure when we get together to photograph. Besides his intellect, multiple talents and wine making expertise, it is his photography skills that we are lucky enough to show here. The following is the wonderful photograph of the wool carder bee taken by Terrance accompanying his text. Merci Terrance!

This is a solitary bee called Anthidium manicatum, or its common name the European wool carder bee, it is a species of bee in the family Megachilidae, the leaf-cutter bees or mason bees. This photo of mine, was taken in a garden in Mount Pearl Newfoundland, shows a male sleeping, he is holding on with his mandibles and is using his legs for stability and balance.

They get the name ‘carder’ from their behaviour of scraping hair… from leaves such as lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina). They carry this hair bundled beneath their bodies to be used as a nest lining. 

It is an invasive species to Newfoundland and I hope does not affect the healthy indigenous bees in any way. This bee is endemic to Europe, Asia and North Africa. It has recently been seen in regions of South America, New Zealand, and the Canary Islands. It was accidentally introduced into North America from Europe sometime in the mid 20th century. They are generalists and do not seem to prefer any plant genera for foraging.

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You can look at more of Terrance’s photographs at his website here.

 

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