Naturalization of the Oil Collecting Bee Centris nitida (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Centrini), a Potential Pollinator of Selected Native, Ornamental, and Invasive Plants in Florida

Robert W. Pemberton, Hong Liu

Abstract


The neotropical bee Centris nitida Smith has naturalized in southeastern Florida and in Sarasota on the Gulf coast. This furry yellow and black bee has been confused with the closely related C. lanosa Cresson, a native bee restricted to northern Florida and the American Southwest and adjacent Mexico. Female C. nitida are smaller than those of both C. lanosa and C. errans Fox, a furry brown-colored native Centris which is sympatric with C. nitida in southern Florida. The 3 Centris bees now occurring in Florida are readily separated by their distinctive facial markings. Female C. nitida have a vertical black line in the middle of the clypeus. Centris nitida is a polylectic, oil-collecting bee observed to visit flowers of 28 species in 10 plant families, including 8 oil reward flower species in the Malpighiaceae, and 10 species of buzz pollinated flowers in the Fabaceae and Solanaceae in Florida. Centris nitida may have environmental impacts through pollination of selected native, ornamental and invasive plants, as well possible competition with the sympatric native C. errans through common usage of oil reward flowers.

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