When most people think of bees they probably think of imported honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Apis mellifera) or native bumble bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombus spp.). With over 20,000 described species in six families, however, there are probably many more bees (Anthophila) in the world than most people realize. I frequently encounter many of these lesser-known species but identifying them can be a challenge. Minute details of the wing venation, mouthparts, hairs, and genitalia are often the only way to tell them apart.
Sometimes things aren’t quite so difficult and one particular characteristic can go a long way. Last week I found this bee in my backyard and the notably long antennae allowed me to identify it to the tribal level. Long-horned bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Eucerini) stand out thanks to the elongate antennae found on the males. For this individual I still double-checked the wing venation and mouthparts to be certain.
This particular male seemed to have been dying, perhaps having recently completed his obligation to mate. These solitary bees come together only during mating, and the females subsequently lay their eggs in nests in the ground.