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BEES AND WASPSX. violacea male - Sept 1995

Three taxa are particularly conspicuous on Thásos, even to the casual visitor - the carpenter bees Xylocopa spp., the velvet wasps Scolia spp. and the hornets Vespa spp. All three are widespread on the island in summer and are noticeable for their large size. The carpenter bees (chiefly X. iris and X. violacea) are magnificent black bees that make a conspicuous hum as they fly fairly ponderously from flower to flower. They are not known to be aggressive and very rarely sting. The velvet wasps are parasites of chafer grubs (Coleoptera, Scarabaeoidea) and harmless to Man but, as they fly fast and are amongst the biggest Hymenopterans in Europe, they can cause unfounded alarm. Megascolia maculata is one of the largest and is a beautiful insect with golden yellow bands across its dark brown abdomen. It is probably quite common on Thásos, where it parasitises the equally massive larvae of the rhinoceros beetle Oryctes nasicornis, but there are several related species with which it can be mistaken. Hornets are also common in the lowlands and in mid-late summer can be seen patrolling most of the island’s beaches or nesting in the old olive groves. Obviously hornets can be very aggressive if their nest is disturbed but generally they ignore Man (unlike many of the social wasps) and will fly up and down beaches looking for food sources without paying any attention to holidaymakers. Two species, Vespa crabro and V. orientalis, have been reported from Thásos.

The island’s fauna was investigated at the end of June 1942 by N. Atanassov (1965) and his list of records covers 60 species of Aculeate Hymenoptera. The checklist appearing on this website is derived from this paper and is probably in need of revision in light of subsequent taxonomic studies (eg. Ancistrocerus parietum). I am grateful to Řistein Berg for assistance with current nomenclature. Atanassov's paper is in Bulgarian and may offer further information to the reader familiar with that language. Since his paper nothing more appears to have been published on the bees and wasps of Thásos but K.M. Guichard of southern England collected Hymenoptera in the north-east of the island in May 1993. Guichard (1980), dealing with the potter wasps (Eumenidae), reported that "no resident [of Greece] has yet attempted their collection and study". This situation presumably applied in general to all of the solitary bees and wasps (though Mavromoustakis (1958) at least worked on the bees of central Greece), but things have no doubt improved over the past twenty years as several Greek museums and Universities have taken more of an active interest in non-agricultural entomology. Recently, Anagnostopoulos (1999, 2005) has begun to collate information on the bumblebees of Greece, reporting twenty-eight species but others no doubt occur. He maintains a website on Greek bumblebees, although this is entirely in Greek.

HYMENOPTERA ACULEATA CHECKLIST

CHRYSIDIDAE

Stilbum cyanurum (Förster)

Chrysura dichroa (Dahlbom)

Chrysura radians Harris

Trychrysis cyanea (L.)

Chrysis ignita (L.)

Chrysis comta Förster

Chrysis viridula L.

Chrysis fulgida L.

 

SCOLIIDAE

Colpa sexmaculata (Fabricius)

Megascolia maculata (Drury)

Scolia hirta Schrank

Scolia sexmaculata Müller

Scolia fuciformis Scopoli

 

VESPIDAE

Vespa crabro L.

Vespa orientalis Fabricius

Dolichovespula sylvestris Scopoli

Vespula germanica (Fabricius)

Vespula vulgaris (L.)

Polistes opinabilis Kohl

Polistes gallicus L.

Eumenes coarctatus (L.)

Eumenes pomiformis (Fabricius)

Rhynchium oculatum Fabricius

Ancistrocerus parietum (L.)

 

POMPILIDAE

Cryptocheilus ichneumonoides Costa

Anoplius viaticus (L.)

Batozonellus lacerticida (Pallas)

 

SPHECIDAE

Bembix olivacea Fabricius

Bembecinus tridens (Fabricius)

Philanthus triangulum (Fabricius)

Sphex leuconotus Brullé

Sceliphron destillatorium Illiger

 

ANDRENIDAE

Andrena morio Brullé

Andrena pilipes Fabricius

Andrena thoracica (Fabricius)

 

HALICTIDAE

Halictus quadricinctus (Fabricius)

Halictus holtzi Schulz

Halictus scabiosae (Rossi)

Lasioglossum euboeense (Strand)

Lasioglossum calceatum (Scopoli)

Nomia femoralis (Pallas)

 

MEGACHILIDAE

Anthidium florentinum (Fabricius)

Anthidium septemspinosum Lepeletier

Osmia cornuta (Latreille)

Osmia rufohirta Latreille

Chalicodoma parietina nestorea (Brullé)

 

APIDAE

Eucera dalmatica Lepeletier

Habropoda tarsata (Spinola)

Habropoda zonatula Smith

Anthophora plumipes (Pallas)

Amegilla garrula (Rossi)

Xylocopa violacea (L.)

Xylocopa valga Gerstäcker

Xylocopa iris (Christ) (=cyanescens Brullé)

Bombus argillaceus (Scopoli)

Bombus pascuorum Scopoli

Bombus muscorum (L.)

Bombus terrestris (L.)

Bombus haematurus (Kriechbaumer)

Apis mellifera L.

REFERENCES

Anagnostopoulos, I.Th. 1999. A first species list of the bumblebee fauna recorded in Greece, (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Proceedings of the "7th National (Greek) Entomological Meeting", 21-24 October 1997, Kavala, Greece. pp: 117-124.

Anagnostopoulos, I.Th. 2005. The bumblebee fauna of Greece: an annotated species list including new records for Greece (Hymenoptera: Apidae, Bombini). Linzer biol. Beitr., 37: 1013-1026.

Atanassov, N. 1965. Hymenoptera von der Insel Thasos. Bulletin de l'Institut de Zoologie et Musée. Académie des Sciences de Bulgarie, 19: 85-99.

Giuchard, K.M. 1980. Greek wasps of the Family Eumenidae (Hymenoptera) with a key to the European genera. Entomologist’s Gazette, 31: 39-59.

Mavromoustakis, G.A. 1958. The bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea) of Attica (Greece). Part 1. Ann. nat. Hist. (Series 13), 1: 433-477.