Cliff Mining Bee

Andrena thoracica

This attractive bee (Andrena thoracica) is a member of the andrena family - mining bees. They nest in holes they excavate in the earth, usually sandy soils that are easy to burrow in to.
There are several species in the family, some difficult to tell apart but this one, Andrena thoracica, is quite distinctive because it is generally black but with a bright orange/brown thorax.
The Andrena's also have short tongues which limits the sort of flowers they can visit to gather pollen and they can be important pollinators of such flowers whereas bumblebees have long tongues and specialise in tubular flowers.
Andrena bees are amongst the first species of bees to appear in the spring although this one, thoracica, comes later.
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderHymenoptera
FamilyAndrenidae
GenusAndrena
SpeciesAndrena thoraica
Photographed in
Bulgaria
Portugal