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FLORIDA BEES
IDENTIFICATION PAGE # F9
June 2024

Svastra
from Alachua Co.

Below are made and female Svastra aegis found in a meadow covered with blankeflowers (about 40 x 40 feet).  There were 30+ females flying around, and a handful of males.  Also noted were Melissodes communis males and females, and a few female Svastra that looked like Svastra petulca.  THe male bee below measured 18 m and the females 17 mm. 

The female Svastra aegis has these traits:  (1) Te plate below the base of each forewing is golden-orange; (2) Abdomen:  the pale hairband on T-3 narrows toward the center, is interrupted, and is set back from the rim.  T-4 lacks a well-defined band.  It has two patches of pale hairs mixed with some dark hairs.  (3) The scopal hairs on the hind tibia are yellow to golden orange.   The male has these traits:  (1)  The hair on the scutellum is dark lined with white hair, and there is some white hair on T5.  (2) Its legs are covered with light hairs, with some dark hairs on the back of the basitarsi.  (3) All three of the abdominal bands on T2-T3 are interrupted.  (4) F1 is shorter than F2.

Florida Svastra include S. aegis, S. atripes, S. compta (an Oenother specialist), S. obliqua and S. petulca.  Only the first two were identified in a survey of bees by John Ascher et al for Alachua County.  All of the last four are easily distinguished from S. aegis by qualities of the tergal hair bands, and/or the color of hairs on the scutum and legs.

Other note:  Aegis means "shield" and must refer to the shield-shaped hair pattern on the scutum and scutellum (a trait shared by other Svastra).  The common name adopted for this bee on I-Naturalist is sandhill longhorn bee.

Size:  female 17 mm

male 18 mm

Svastra aegis

Sandhill longhorn bee

Food plants:

Blanketflower

(Gaillardia pulchella

When and where seen:

June 2, 2024

(Gainesville)

Svastra aegis; copyright 2024 Sharp-Eatman Nature Photography

Female Svastra aegis

Svastra aegis; copyright 2024 Sharp-Eatman Nature Photography

Face of a  female Svastra aegis

Svastra aegis; copyright 2024 Sharp=Eatman Nature Photography

A male Svastra aegis

Gaillardia pulchella

Field of blanketflowers where Svastra were found

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