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Great Carpenter Bee Photos
by Erica Siegel

Aussie Bee Homepage > New Native Bee Photos > Great Carpenter Bees

Erica Siegel kindly contributed the following eye-catching photographs of Great Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa) to the Aussie Bee website:

great carpenter bee

These female Great Carpenter Bees have bold yellow fur on the thorax and a black abdomen. The males look quite different, with olive coloured fur over much of their bodies -- see our Great Carpenter Bee photo gallery.

In the following spectacular photos, Erica Siegel shows a Great Carpenter Bee visiting the flowers of Melastoma affine. This plant is an important shrub of rainforest margins which is helping to regenerate rainforests in northern Australia. It traps its pollen inside little capsules and requires a bee that can perform 'buzz pollination' to correctly pollinate it.

Great Carpenter Bees are excellent buzz pollinators. They curl their bodies around the pollen capsules (as can be seen in some of the photos below) and vibrate their muscles to release the trapped pollen.

great carpenter bee

great carpenter bee

xylocopa carpenter bee

xylocopa carpenter bee

Above: the Great Carpenter Bee curls around the pollen capsules of this Melatoma affine flower ready to buzz them.

great carpenter bee

Also take a look at Corinne Jordan's fabulous photo of a Great Carpenter Bee buzz pollinating a flower. Corinne's photo was a category winner in the 2011 Up Close and Spineless photo competition of the Australian Museum!

Great Carpenter Bees are found in northern Australia and northern NSW. They are up to 24 mm long and are very noticeable because of the loud buzz they make in flight.

Erica Siegel has also produced a rare video for Aussie Bee of a Great Carpenter Bee visiting Melatoma affine.

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PO Box 74, North Richmond NSW 2754, Australia