Silpha laevigata Fabricius, 1775
Easily distinguished by the absence of raised longitudinal lines on the elytra.
The front of the pronotum is rounded and the head somewhat elongate.
Mainly in the southern half of England. May be abundant in some areas, particularly
near the coast, but scarce or absent in others.
Probably the bee highlight of the year
The males of this species are among the first of the solitary bees to appear in the spring, with one exceptional record as early as late February. They are shortly followed by the distinctive females.
Status (in Britain only)
Classified as a Nationally Notable (Nb) species by Falk (1991).
Generally calcareous grassland and open deciduous woodland on chalk and limestone soils.
Univoltine; April to early July. The males are very short-lived in comparison with the females.
Females establish their nests in empty snail shells, including those of Helix pomatia, Cepaea nemoralis, C. hortensis and Monacha cantiana. Nests contain about four or five cells, depending on the size of shell used. Cell partitions and the closing plug consist of leaf mastic (i.e. masticated portions of green leaf). The space between the last cell partition and the closing plug is filled with a rubble containing very small snail shells and pieces of chalk, or soil. When the nest is completed the female covers the shell with a mound of dead grass stems, beech scales or leaf fragments (Perkins, 1884, 1891; G R Else, pers. obs.). The reason for this behaviour is not known, but it may camouflage the nest from possible parasites and predators at a time when it may be vulnerable to such attack….BWARS
A few of the bees seen on Fleam dyke this morning , many of the Andrena nigroaenea were stylopsed , ID’s in individual photos
Sorry not much info on the larvae .
Today’s outing a couple of hours on Cambridges Chalky side.
The massive earthwork monument known as Fleam Dyke consists of a 7-8m high bank and ditched barrier which ran for 5km from Balsham to Fulbourn. Possible extensions to it occur at both the south and north ends, and a further part of it might exist from Quy Fen to the River Cam at Fen Ditton. The main part of Fleam survives today as a footpath and parish boundary, but historically the northern part was also the boundary between Flendish and Staine Hundreds. The Moot for these Hundreds was at Mutlow Hill, a Bronze Age barrow which had clearly been an important landmark for many centuries before its use as an Anglo-Saxon meeting place. Apart from the 4,000 year old cremated burials for which it was originally built, rare third century BC Greek coins have been found close to the burial mound. It was reused in Roman times for a temple, and it is no accident that Fleam Dyke passes right beside it. Mutlow rests on the top of a hill, and overlooks the junction of several routeways (including the Icknield Way) where they meet and cross Fleam Dyke.
The highlight is the Osmia Bicolor male ,, but i must find the beautifully coloured female.