Keys and general biology are found in Sladen (1912), Free & Butler (1959), Alford (1975) and Prŷs-Jones & Corbet (1991). Until recently this species was known as Psithyrus barbutellus, but Psithyrus has now been reduced to a sub-genus within Bombus. It bears a close resemblance to its host, Bombus hortorum, but has an almost circular face, most unlike the very elongated one of B. hortorum.
This species has also been known as S. ruficrus (Erichson) and S. rufiventris (Panzer), but both were misidentifications.
Both sexes can be identified by their yellow-marked faces and shrill hum. The male has pale green eyes in life, though this is a purely ephemeral character, the eyes becoming brownish-black after death.
An unusual Anthophora species, which excavates its nest burrows in rotten wood, rather than in the soil. Unusually for Anthophora the mandible is tridentate, with both an inner and outer subapical tooth.
Keys and general biology are found in Sladen (1912), Free & Butler (1959), Alford (1975) and Prŷs-Jones & Corbet (1991). A rather small yellow, black and white-banded bumblebee which can be rather difficult to distinguish from the very common Bombus lucorum. Although much is made in the literature of a centrally broken yellow band on the second segment of the abdomen, this is probably the worst field character to distinguish this species, being hard to discern with the naked eye. Even then one must be sure that the break is due to… Read more