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Scientific note: mass-nesting of a native bee Hylaeus (Euprosopoides) ruficeps kalamundae (Cockerell, 1915) (Hymenoptera: Colletidae: Hylaeinae) in polystyrene


Plastic is pervasive across ecosystems, with polystyrene being a common plastic synthetic material used in buildings. Although polystyrene is used in hive construction for European honeybees and managed megachilids, cavity-nesting colletids have never been documented to nest in such materials. Here, observations of the solitary native bee Hylaeus (Euprosopoides) ruficeps kalamundae mass-nesting in polystyrene insulation boards in a house in Darlington, Western Australia, are reported. This represents the first instance of a Hylaeus species nesting in polystyrene. The abundance of individuals nesting in this material over successive years suggests this behaviour is not detrimental to the fitness of this species; however, experimental studies comparing fitness between polystyrene and natural materials are required. These observations contribute to the recognition that anthropogenic materials are increasingly being used by wild animals.

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I would like to thank J. Brain for contacting me and allowing me to make the observations of the nesting activity of these bees at his property. I would also like to thank the reviewers for their constructive feedback.

Author information

KP contributed to all observations, species identification, and writing and revising of the paper.

Correspondence to Kit S. Prendergast.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Note scientifique : nidification en masse d'une abeille indigène Hylaeus (euprosopoides) ruficeps kalamundae (Cockerell, 1915) (Hymenoptera : Colletidae : Hylaeinae) dans le polystyrène.

abeilles / plastique / flexibilité adaptative / nidification.

Eine wissenschaftliche Notiz zum massenhaften Nestbau der einheimischen Biene Hylaeus (euprosopoides) ruficeps kalamundae (Cockerell, 1915) (Hymenoptera: Colletidae: Hylaeinae) in Polystyren.

Bienen / Plastik / Hyalaeine / adaptive Flexibilität / Nestbau.

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Prendergast, K.S. Scientific note: mass-nesting of a native bee Hylaeus (Euprosopoides) ruficeps kalamundae (Cockerell, 1915) (Hymenoptera: Colletidae: Hylaeinae) in polystyrene. Apidologie (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13592-019-00722-8

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  • bees
  • plastic
  • hylaeine
  • adaptive flexibility
  • nesting