Melecta and Anthidium Combo

Melecta and Anthidium Combo - Bees
Melecta albifrons and Anthidium manicatum Combo (pen & ink, 1984). Signed limited edition of 300 on fine card. A3. £50.00.

Two of twenty pen and ink illustrations commissioned for a forthcoming book on British Bees. The project was instrumental in my mastering of cross-hatching and stippling, and these are two of the earliest illustrations I did. The bee above, Melecta albifrons, is a cuckoo-parasite of the bee Anthophora plumipes (featured in another combo). It lays its eggs in the Anthophora nest and its grub uses the food provisions collected by the host for their development. Anthidium manicatum (below) is known as the Wool Carder-bee, and this is a male showing the row of spines at the tip of his abdomen. He is very territorial and aggressive towards other insects, often defending a patch of flowers such as Black Horehound or Marsh Woundwort with darting hovers. The smaller females (this is one of the few bees where females are smaller than males) nest in holes in wood and masonry, lining their nests with plant-fluff. Lamb's-ear Stachys byzantina growing in gardens is a favourite source of such 'wool'.
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Anthophora plumipes Combo

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