sponge up


The family Melittidae is a small bee family, with some 60 species in 4 genera, restricted to Africa and the northern temperate zone. Historically, the family has included the Dasypodaidae and Meganomiidae as subfamilies, but recent molecular studies indicate that Melittidae (sensu lato) was paraphyletic, so each of the three historical subfamilies is now accorded family status, with Dasypodaidae as the basal group of bees, followed by Meganomiids and Melittids, which are sister taxa..

They are typically small to moderate-sized bees, which often have shaggy scopae, and are commonly oligolectic, several species further specializing on floral oils as larval food rather than pollen, including Rediviva emdeorum, a highly unusual species in which the forelegs are longer than the entire body, and used to sponge up the floral oil at the end of elongated corolla spurs of the host plant, Diascia.


  • C. D. Michener (2000) The Bees of the World, Johns Hopkins University Press.

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