|Halictus scabiosae, female|
>330 species in 15 subgenera (see text)
The genus Halictus is a large assemblage of bee species in the family Halictidae. The genus is divided into 15 subgenera, containing well over 300 species, primarily in the Northern Hemisphere (a few species occur in South America and Africa). Most species are black or dark brown, sometimes metallic greenish-tinted, with apical whitish abdominal bands (the related genus Lasioglossum, which is otherwise often similar in appearance, has the abdominal hair bands located basally, not apically).
Many species in the genus are eusocial, with colony sizes range from very small (2-4 bees) to large (>200). Nests are typically underground burrows, with several ovoid "cells" in which pollen mixed with nectar is provided as food for the developing larvae; a single egg is laid on a pollen mass, and the cell is sealed. Sometimes the cells are arranged in clusters resembling a honeycomb, but constructed of soil rather than beeswax.
A few species in the genus have extensive geographic distribution, such as Halictus rubicundus, which spans virtually the entire Northern Hemisphere, and Halictus ligatus, which ranges from Canada to Venezuela. Common European species include Halictus quadricinctus and Halictus sexcinctus.
- Michener, C.D. (2007). The Bees of the World. 2nd Edition. Johns Hopkins University Press.
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