Pierre Rasmont Atlas of the European Bees: genus Thyreus
First on line 29.VIII.2014, update 10.XI.2014Thyreus
includes 25 species in West-Palaearctic region.
Like other Melectini, Thyreus
are all cleptoparasitic solitary species, most of them hosted by Anthophorini of the genus Amegilla. Like their main Amegilla
are clearly associated with arid or subarid biomes, matorrals, steppes, sub-deserts and deserts. There is only one species (Thyreus orbatus
) that crosses the 50th parallel to the north, and it is also one of the rare that is hosted by Anthophora
species (Anthophora quadrimaculata
There are very few data about the foraging plants of Thyreus
, they seem however to forage generally side by side on the same plants than their hosts. That includes foraging mainly flowers with long corollae, as Boraginaceae, Lamiaceae, Leguminosae, Scophulariaceae and Compositae from the Carduae tribe (thistles).
All species are quite fast and discrete flyers. For these reasons, it is likely that their abundance and distribution remain underestimated. But in all cases, all species are rare and localised. Beside, some species are not easy to identify, relying not only to the genitalia but also to the internal sternites, requiring so a delicate dissection. Some taxa are known by few specimens or even just by types.
Beside the comprehensive but dated monography of Meyer (1921), there is a main revision of the genus for the Palaearctic: Lieftinck (1968). For France, the key of de Beaumont (1939) (updated by Rasmont 2014) remains of great convenience. For Iberian Peninsula, Vergès (1967) provides a good introduction.
Righmyer & Engel (2003) recently splitted the genus Thyreomelecta
This updated version remains VERY provisional. It includes mainly the checklist of West-Palaearctic species. It remains gaps and mistakes in the maps. It is based mainly on Lieftinck (1968) with a considerable addition of original data. There are very few available photographs of living specimens.Acknowledgements
This page is constructed in the framework of the STEP project - Status and Trends of European Pollinators. Coordinator: Simon Geoffrey Potts, University of Reading
STEP Partners to Objective 1 (Document the status and trends of pollinators, map distributions): University of Mons (Prof. Pierre Rasmont; Denis Michez; Stephanie Iserbyt; Yvan Barbier); University of Reading (Stuart Roberts)
Many thanks to Manu Dehon for his help and to David Genoud for photographs.
:Rasmont P. 2014. Atlas of the European Bees: genus Thyreus
. 1st Edition. STEP Project, Atlas Hymenoptera, Mons, Gembloux. http://www.atlashymenoptera.net/page.aspx?ID=258Other MelectiniMelectaThyreomelecta
Thyreus (present page)