Melecta luctuosa


Author(s) : Rasmont P.
Melecta (Melecta) luctuosa (Scopoli, 1770)

After Melecta albovaria, M. luctuosa is the second most abundant and widepread Melecta species in the West-Palaearctic. It does not occur in Eire, Norway, Finland and Baltic countries in the north. It is also absent from all N. African countries, except Algeria, and also from Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Jordan, in the South.

It does not include different subspecies and it is quite constant in coloration in its whole distribution. North of the 45th latitude, it is the only species with large white spots on abdomen, and that makes it easy to identify. South of this latitude, the females are imposible to separate from those of M. leucorhyncha, where both species occur. The males are quite easy to separate thanks to genitalia.

It cleptoparasites mainly Anthophora (Pyganthophora) retusa, A. (Pyganthophora) aestivalis. Iuga (1958) also mentions A. (Melea) parietina.

It does not seem to be specialist forager. Iuga (1958) mentions Anchusa, Cynoglosum, Salvia and Glechoma as foraging plants. The BDFGM also includes numerous data for Thymus, Euphorbia, Trifolium, Echium (females) and Ajuga (males).

Melecta luctuosa is strongly regressing in England, Belgium, Netherland and in most part of Germany, likely due to the regression of its most common hosts.

P. Rasmont