Andrena congruens Schmiedeknecht, 1884

Description and notes

This medium-sized Andrena is very similar to the common Andrena dorsata (Kirby), with bright foxy hairs on the thorax and a shining black abdomen with fine lines of white hairs on the apices of the segments, only even more contrasting in appearance. It may be confirmed by careful examination, looking at the shape and form of the hairs on the hind tibia in females and the presence of a line of black hairs against the eyes in the male. It is a rather enigmatic species, being very abundant in a locality for a number of years and then apparently disappearing. I have not seen it frequently since a period in the 1990s, when it occurred in many areas in West Sussex.

Distribution

Southern England, with rather more of a central distribution than many of the southerly species, which tend to be south-easterly, also recorded in south Wales.

It is widespread in Southern and Central Europe.

Status (in Britain only)

This species is listed in Falk (1991) as Nationally Notable/Na (now known as Nationally Scarce).

Habitat

It occurs in a range of habitats with lighter soils; I have found it in sand and gravel pits as well as on the extensive chalk grasslands of Salisbury Plain.

Flight period

Bivoltine: late March to May, and July to August.

Nesting biology

A species which may nest in very large aggregations on patches of bare ground.

Flowers visited

A very wide range, including hawthorn, sallow, blackthorn, dandelion, hogweed, and wild carrot.

Parasites

None known.

Author of profile

M Edwards.

Year profile last updated

2016