SMALL-HEADED RESIN BEE, HERIADES RUBICOLA,
NEW TO BRITAIN (HYMENOPTERA: MEGACHILIDAE)
&DAVID G. NOTTON
16 Briantspuddle, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 7HS, United Kingdom
Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road,
London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom
Small-headed Resin Bee, Heriades rubicola Pere
´z, is formally recorded as new to
Britain following its mention by Falk & Lewington (2015) and based on two
specimens, one from Dorset and one from London. Morphological characters are
given and illustrated, to establish its identity and to distinguish it from other British
bees. Notes are provided on bionomics, the circumstances of its arrival and its status
Knowledge of the distribution and status of British bees is timely in the context of
understanding and managing pollinator services, the conservation of bees generally
and understanding their responses to challenges such as climate change, land-use
change and pesticides (Carvell et al., 2016; Nowakowski & Pywell, 2016). The
discovery of a bee new to the British fauna is therefore of considerable interest.
Small-headed Resin Bee, Heriades (Heriades)rubicola Pere
´z, 1890 (Hymenoptera,
Megachilidae, Osmiini), is here recorded as new to Britain based on two specimens,
one from Dorset and one from London. Morphological characters are provided and
illustrated to establish its identity and to distinguish it from other north-west
European Heriades. Notes are provided on the bionomics of H.rubicola in Britain
supplemented with observations from Portugal and on the circumstances of its
arrival in Britain and its possible status as a breeding species in Britain. This is the
third paper reporting novel Hymenoptera from Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park/
Southern Park; previously Notton, Tang, & Day (2016) and Notton (2016).
Bees were collected by hand netting, with voucher specimens deposited in the
personal collection of Ian Cross (ICPC) and the Natural History Museum, London
(NHMUK). Plant associates were identiﬁed using Stace (2010). All British Heriades
truncorum (L.) in NHMUK were checked and labelled to be sure no H. rubicola were
present and all H. rubicola were examined to be sure there were no additional British
specimens. London specimens were imaged using a Canon EOS 550D digital camera
connected to a Leica M125 stereomicroscope; images were processed with Helicon
Focus image stacking software. Nomenclature follows Ascher and Pickering (2014)
and Else, Bolton and Broad (2016).
BR. J. ENT. NAT. HIST., 30: 2017 1
* corresponding author.
Key to species of north-west European Heriades
According to Ungricht, Mu
¨ller & Dorn (2008) there are three species of Heriades
found in north-west Europe; H. truncorum,H. rubicola and H. crenulata Nylander,
the last is not reported from Britain but because of its similarity to H. rubicola and
close proximity of its distribution to Britain it seems prudent to provide a key here
including all three. The following is translated and adapted from Amiet et al. (2004),
with the addition of some distinctive new characters in the key to males: the
pubescence of sternites 1–2 and the form of the genitalia.
1 Lower margin of clypeus with two protruding medial tubercles (Plate 1, Fig. 1).
Body length 6–7 mm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . H. truncorum (Linnaeus)
– Lower margin of clypeus ﬁnely crenulate, i.e. with numerous small denticles
(Plate 1, Fig. 2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
2 Inner orbits almost parallel (Plate 1, Fig. 3). Gena as wide as compound eye
(Plate 1, Fig. 5). Mesonotum about as strongly punctured as vertex. Body length
6–7mm .............................. H. crenulata Nylander
– Inner orbits distinctly converging below (Plate 1, Fig. 4). Gena narrower than
compound eye (Plate 1, Fig. 6). Mesonotum more coarsely punctured than
vertex. 5–6 mm. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . H. rubicola Pe
1 Sternites 1 and 2 with short hairs, not concealing the cuticle below, the longest
hairs about as long as the width of the hind basitarsus, and about as long as
the hairs medially on tergite 6 (Plate 1, Fig. 7). Tergite 6 with the lateral pits
shallow (Plate 1, Fig. 7). Genitalia with gonoforceps slender, weakly curved
(Plate 2, Fig. 2). 5–6 mm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . H. rubicola Pe
– Sternites 1 and 2 with long dense hairs, concealing the cuticle below, the longest
hairs about 1.5 times as long as the width of the hind basitarsus, and much
longer than the hairs medially on tergite 6 (Plate 1, Fig. 8; Plate 2, Fig. 1).
Tergite 6 with the lateral pits deep (Plate 1, Fig 8; Plate 2, Fig. 1). Genitalia with
gonoforceps stout, strongly curved or angled apically (Plate 2, Figs 3, 4) . . 2
2 Tergite 6 with the two pits broadly separated by more than a third of the tergite
width (Plate 1, Fig. 8). Apex of gonoforceps abruptly angled (Plate 2, Fig. 3).
Body length 6–7 mm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . H. crenulata Nylander
– Tergite 6 with the lateral pits narrowly separated, by less than a ﬁfth of the
tergite width (Plate 2, Fig. 1). Apex of gonoforceps evenly curved (Plate 2, Fig.
4). Body length 5–7 mm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . H. truncorum (Linnaeus)
HERIADES Spinola, 1808
Heriades (Heriades)rubicola Pere
Plate 1, Figs 2, 4, 6, 7; Plate 2, Figs 2, 5–8.
The ﬁrst British specimen of Heriades rubicola, found in 2006, could not be
identiﬁed using available British literature but using a key for the continental
European fauna (Amiet et al., 2004) it was keyed to H. rubicola by ICPC and this was
conﬁrmed by George Else (pers. comm.). Based on this specimen the species was brieﬂy
reported and included in the most recent key to British bees (Falk & Lewington, 2015)
2BR. J. ENT. NAT. HIST., 30: 2017
as an accidental introduction or vagrant. The second British specimen found in 2016
was identiﬁed by DGN using Falk & Lewington (2015) and conﬁrmed with Amiet et al.
(2004) and by comparison with specimens of this species in the NHMUK collection,
including specimens recently determined by Andreas Mu
¨ller. Among the British fauna,
H.rubicola is hard to identify and, because of its small size and similarity to H.
truncorum, voucher specimens are recommended, preferably of the more distinctive
males. The key to north-west European Heriades above is provided to enhance existing
identiﬁcation resources. In the ﬁeld, fresh specimens are usually slightly smaller and
paler than H. truncorum and like that species are usually found in association with
yellow-ﬂowered Asteraceae. The vernacular name Small-headed Resin Bee was
proposed for this species by Falk and Lewington (2015) and is recommended here.
The name Bramble Carpenter Bee (National Biodiversity Network, 2016:
NHMSYS0020936564) is not recommended because H. rubicola does not have a
preferential association with Rubus spp., as it also nests in dead wood or reed stems.
Furthermore, the name carpenter bee is more usually used for bees of the subfamily
UK: Dorset: Briantspuddle: SY816931: 26.vii.2006: Z: at ﬂowers of Pulicaria
dysenterica: I. Cross (ICPC); London: Greenwich Peninsula: Southern Park:
TQ400791: 6.viii.2016: Z: at ﬂowers of Picris heiracioides: D. G. Notton
(NHMUK010264949). FRANCE: Var: Fre
´jus: 4.vi.1971: 2YY: K.M. Guichard
(NHMUK010264959, NHMUK010264974). SPAIN: 20 km north of Madrid: Rio
Guadarrama: 3.vi.1979: Z: K.M. Guichard (NHMUK010264977).
To date Heriades rubicola has only been found at two sites in Britain but may well
have been overlooked elsewhere because of its small size. Heriades rubicola is
widespread in southern Europe, north Africa, and Asia (Amiet et al., 2004; Mu
2016). The nearest populations to Britain appear to be in France (Mu
¨ller, 2016) and
the Channel Islands (BWARS, 2016).
The Briantspuddle site is a mature, rural, wildlife garden of about 0.1 ha. The
garden contains bramble, Rubus fruticosus agg. and, as it is situated in a river valley,
there is abundant Common Reed, Phragmites australis, within 200 m. Southern Park
is adjacent to the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park, situated within the former
gasworks site on Greenwich Peninsula. The latter totals 1.72 ha in size and comprises
artiﬁcial lakes, reed bed, grassland, scrub and woodland, as well as a building and
supporting access infrastructure (The Land Trust, 2014; Notton, Tang & Day, 2016).
At the time of collecting, there was an adjacent brownﬁeld site including grassland
habitat with bramble, R. fruticosus agg., and abundant yellow ﬂowered Asteraceae;
the last site is being built over at the time of writing.
From the limited observations to date British females H. rubicola have been seen
ﬂying from July to August. Elsewhere it has been recorded from June-September in
France and Switzerland (Pe
´rez, 1890; Benoist, 1929; Amiet et al., 2004). In southern
Iberia it is at least double, and probably multiple brooded, with adults being
recorded from late March to early November.
BR. J. ENT. NAT. HIST., 30: 2017 3
Nesting of H. rubicola has not been observed in Britain although the Dorset female
was carrying pollen and so is assumed to have been nesting. Both bramble, Rubus
spp., and Common Reed, Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud, the stems of
which are known to be used for nesting outside Britain, are abundant at Southern
Park, Greenwich. In France H. rubicola has been reported nesting in Phragmites
(‘roseaux’) and Rubus (‘ronce’), with the cells separated by plant resin or gum (Pe
1890; Ferton, 1894; Benoist, 1929). More recently in the Czech Republic it has
recently been reported by Bogusch, Astapenkova
´& Heneberg (2015) nesting in
empty galls of Lipara spp. (Diptera, Chloropidae) on P. australis. In Portugal it nests
in beetle burrows in wood with the nest closure being made of resin with small
particles incorporated, probably sand, and some green particles, possibly leaf
material or plant gum (Plate 2, Figs 6–7).
In Britain H. rubicola females have been seen visiting Common Fleabane, Pulicaria
dysenterica (L.) Bernh., and Hawkweed Oxtongue, Picris heiracioides (L.). This bee is
oligolectic on Asteraceae (Amiet et al., 2004) and apparently prefers to forage on
yellow-ﬂowered species of Senecioneae and Inuleae. In Portugal and Spain early
broods visit a variety of yellow Asteraceae including Helichrysum stoechas (L.)
Moench, and late broods are frequently seen visiting Woody Fleabane, Dittrichia
viscosa (L.) Greuter (Plate 2, Fig. 8).
Heriades rubicola has not been formally published as new for Britain but was ﬁrst
mentioned as British in Falk and Lewington’s (2015) ﬁeld guide. Else, Bolton and
Broad (2016) list it as British but were apparently unaware of Falk and Lewington’s
mention and erroneously say it was introduced to the British list in another work
which is currently unpublished. Falk and Lewington suggest the ﬁrst specimen of
H. rubicola was an accidental introduction or vagrant. However, the discovery of a
second specimen ten years later at a different locality suggests that it may have
established in Britain at low density. It is an inconspicuous bee, and could easily have
been established for some time without detection. It was not noticed in two recent
entomological surveys of Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park: an unpublished list of
bees recorded during 2009 prepared by Thomas C. Ings, Anglia Ruskin University
(pers. comm.); and a survey report covering all insects, including bees (Colin Plant
Associates, 2015). There is no evidence to suggest how H. rubicola might have
reached Britain although it could easily have been imported with wood products or
horticultural plants with hollow stems containing nests. In time it may become
widespread in southern Britain because it appears that its pollen host and nesting
requirements can be easily met. The occurrence of this bee in Britain has been
notiﬁed to the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat however, there is no evidence
currently to suggest that it poses any threat to native bees. Heriades rubicola is not
endangered in a whole European context, it has the status ‘of Least Concern’ in
IUCN red lists categories and is not endemic to Europe (Nieto et al., 2014).
Heriades rubicola is apparently expanding its range northwards in Europe, being
reported in Czech Republic for the ﬁrst time in 2007 (Bogusch et al., 2015) and
becoming increasingly common there, and also apparently expanding its range in
Austria (Planner, 2016).
4BR. J. ENT. NAT. HIST., 30: 2017
Thanks are due to The Land Trust (The Land Trust, 2016) for permission to
collect at Southern Park, The Conservation Volunteers (The Conservation
Volunteers, 2016) and loyal friends of the Park who manage the habitats for bees,
and to Theresa Howard (formerly Collections Manager for Entomology, Natural
History Museum, UK).
Amiet, F., Herrmann, M., Mu
¨ller, A. & Neumeyer, R. 2004. Apidae 4 – Anthidium,Chelostoma,
Coelioxys,Dioxys,Heriades,Lithurgus,Megachile,Osmia,Stelis.Fauna Helvetica 9: 1–273.
Ascher, J. S. & Pickering, J. 2014. Discover Life: Bee species guide and World checklist
(Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila) [Online]. Available from: http://www.discoverlife.
org/ [Accessed 19/11/2016].
Benoist, R. 1929. Les Heriades de la faune franc¸ aise (Hym. Apidae). Annales de la Socie
entomologique de France 98: 131–141.
Bogusch, P., Astapenkova
´, A. & Heneberg, P. 2015. Larvae and nests of six aculeate
Hymenoptera (Hymenoptera: Aculeata) nesting in reed galls induced by Lipara spp.
(Diptera: Chloropidae) with a review of species recorded. PloS one, 10, e0130802. http://
BWARS. 2016. Heriades rubicola Perez, 1890. BWARS Bees,Wasps & Ants Recording Society
[Online]. Available from: http://www.bwars.com/ [Accessed 21/11/2016].
Carvell, C., Isaac, N., Jitlal, M., Peyton, J., Powney, G., Roy, D., Vanbergen, A., O’Connor,
R., Jones, C., Kunin, B., Breeze, T., Garratt, M., Potts, S., Harvey, M., Ansine, J.,
Comont, R., Lee, P., Edwards, M., Roberts, S., Morris, R., Musgrove, A., Brereton, T.,
Hawes, C. & Roy, H. 2016. Defra project WC1101: Design and Testing of a National
Pollinator and Pollination Monitoring Framework: Final Report: A report to the Department
for Environment,Food and Rural Affairs (Defra),Scottish Government and Welsh
Government, Wallingford, UK, Natural Environment Research Council (Centre for
Ecology and Hydrology), p. iii+62. http://randd.defra.gov.uk/.
Colin Plant Associates. 2015. Greenwich Ecology Park assessment of potential effects of shading
on invertebrate ecology. Report number BS/2962/15, Colin Plant Associates, Bishops
Stortford / Ramboll Environ, London, 47 pp.
Else, G. R., Bolton, B. & Broad, G. R. 2016. Checklist of British and Irish Hymenoptera –
aculeates (Apoidea, Chrysidoidea and Vespoidea). Biodiversity Data Journal 4: 1–188.
Falk, S. & Lewington, R. 2015. Field guide to the bees of Great Britain and Ireland. British
Wildlife Field Guides, London, Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 432 pp.
Ferton, C. 1894. Seconde note sur les moeurs de quelques Hyme
`res du genre Osmia Panzer
principalement de la Provence. Actes de la Socie
´enne de Bordeaux 47: 203–214. http://
¨ller, A. 2016. Subgenus Heriades.Palaearctic Osmiine Bees [Online]. Available from: http://
blogs.ethz.ch/osmiini [Accessed 20/11/2016].
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´rez, 1890 [Bramble Carpenter Bee]
[Online]. Available from: https://data.nbn.org.uk [Accessed 6/11/2016].
Nieto, A., Roberts, S.P.M., Kemp, J., Rasmont, P., Kuhlmann, M., Garcı
´a Criado, M.,
Biesmeijer, J. C., Bogusch, P., Dathe, H. H., De La Ru´ a, P., De Meulemeester, T., Dehon,
M., Dewulf, A., Ortiz-Sa
´nchez, F.J., Lhomme, P., Pauly, A., Potts, S.G., Praz, C.,
Quaranta, M., Radchenko, V.G., Scheuchl, E., Smit, J., Straka, J., Terzo, M., Tomozii, B.,
Window, J. & Michez, D. 2014. European Red List of Bees. Luxembourg: Publications
Ofﬁce of the European Union, European Commission, International Union for
Conservation of Nature, Rosseels Printing, p. x+84. DOI: 10.2779/77003.
Notton, D. G., Tang, C. Q. & Day, A. R. 2016. Viper’s Bugloss Mason Bee, Hoplitis (Hoplitis)
adunca, new to Britain (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae, Megachilinae, Osmiini). British
Journal of Entomology and Natural History 29: 134–143.
BR. J. ENT. NAT. HIST., 30: 2017 5
Notton, D. G. Grass-Carrying Wasp, Isodontia mexicana (De Saussure), genus and species new
to Britain (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae). British Journal of Entomology and Natural History
Nowakowski, M. & Pywell, R.F. 2016. Habitat Creation and Management for Pollinators.
Wallingford, UK, Natural Environment Research Council (Centre for Ecology and
Hydrology), Wildlife Farming Company, p. ii+86. http://www.ceh.ac.uk/sites/default/
ﬁles/Habitat Management and Creation For Pollinators.pdf.
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¨t und Fo
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Press, p. xxxii, 1232.
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good [Online]. Available from: http://www.tcv.org.uk [Accessed 12/6/2016].
The Land Trust. 2014. Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park management plan. The Land Trust,
Warrington / The Conservation Volunteers, London, 41pp.
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¨ller, A. & Dorn, S. 2008. A taxonomic catalogue of the Palaearctic bees of the
tribe Osmiini (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Megachilidae). Zootaxa 1865; 1–253. http://
Submergence tolerance of Cionus scrophulariae (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) on
Water Figwort at Kew Bridge, London. – For six years I have been aware of a large
stand of Water Figwort Scrophularia auriculata growing at Kew Bridge, London
which supports a large resident population of the weevil Cionus scrophulariae (L.)
(Curtis, 2011). I have often wondered how C. scrophulariae responds to the year
round, twice monthly Spring tide ﬂooding of the Thames bank. Regular observations
reveal that adult beetles can be found on the ﬁgwort in mid winter, mainly hidden
among the dried ﬂorets of tall intact stems that are above the highest level of
ﬂooding. On 4.iv.2016 I made the key observation on a new clump of ﬁgwort,
situated low down on the footings of the west side of the bridge. Arriving soon after
the tide had receded, with fronds saturated and slumped over, I found three mating
pairs of C. scrophulariae – strong evidence that adult beetles can survive temporary
submergence. In view of the timing it is highly likely that the initiation of mating
occurred before the period of submergence. – CLIVE R. CURTIS, 3 Cressage House,
Walnut Tree Road, Brentford, Middlesex TW8 0LA.
Curtis, C. R. 2011. Overwintering of Cionus scrophulariae (Col. Curculionidae) in London.
British Journal of Entomology and Natural History 24: 225–226.
6BR. J. ENT. NAT. HIST., 30: 2017
BR. J. ENT. NAT. HIST., 30: 2017
PLATE 1. Fig. 1.
,Zclypeus, with white line added to show shape of margin
(NHMUK010264951). Fig. 2.
,Zclypeus, with white line added to show shape of margin
(NHMUK010264949). Fig. 3.
,Zface (NHMUK010264975); Fig. 4.
(NHMUK010264949). Fig. 5.
,Zhead, lateral (NHMUK010264976); Fig. 6.
lateral (NHMUK010264977). Fig. 7.
,Ymetasoma, ventral, sternites 1, 2 and 6 (NHMUK010264974).
,Ymetasoma, ventral, sternites 1, 2 and 6 (NHMUK010264973). Scale bars 1 mm.
BR. J. ENT. NAT. HIST., 30: 2017
PLATE 2. Fig. 1.
,Ymetasoma, ventral, sternites 1, 2 and 6 (NHMUK010264972). Fig. 2.
,Ygenitalia (NHMUK010264959). Fig. 3.
,Ygenitalia (NHMUK010264960). Fig. 4.
,Ygenitalia (NHMUK010264962). Fig. 5.
,Zdorsal habitus (NHMUK010264949). Fig. 6.
,Zcapping nest with a mixture of resin and small stones, Portugal. Fig. 7.
, nest capping
of resin and small stones, Portugal. Fig. 8.
,Yvisiting ﬂowers of
near Lagos in
the Algarve, Portugal. Scale bars 1 mm, Fig. 1, 3–5; 0.5 mm, Fig. 2. Photo credits: DGN (NHMUK), Figs 1–5; IC,