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Boesi et al. (2009) describe the biology of Lasioglossum majus based on 41 excavated nests from Lombardy, Italy. Lasioglossum majus is common across temperate Europe, and generally assumed to be solitary. It nests in large aggregations. The aggregation studied by Boesi et al. (2009) contained 351 nests with a density of 3.6 nests per square meter. Boesi et al. (2009) discovered that while L. majus indeed are generally solitary, some nests are communal, with two females sharing a nest but each provisioning her own cells. This appears to arise from closely adjoining nest tunnels intercepting each other such that the nests merge, and two solitary nests become one communal nest. A similar phenomenon was noted for Agapostemon nasutus by Eicwort and Eickwort (1969; see Fig. 4) and Lasioglossum coeruleum by Stockhammer (1967). Nests of L. majus are apparently univoltine (producing only one generation of brood per season), as they were active only from the beginning of May until the middle of June. The authors use circle tube experiments, in which two females are forced to interact, to show that females have low levels of aggression when they encounter each other. This is similar to other communal species, suggesting that L. majus has is pre-disposed to communal behavior despite being largely solitary. Other species with similar pre-dispositions are bivoltine, unlike the univoltine L. majus.

This bee's nest architecture is described by Sakagami and Michener (1962): Nest architecture is Type IIIb: Lateral burrows are short such that cells are nearly attached to the cell wall, meaning that the nest is intermediate between Type IIIa and IIIb. The cells are not spatially concentrated in any part of the burrow.


Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smith, Adam

Source: Halictidae

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