name = Halictidae

regnum = Animalia
phylum = Arthropoda
subphylum = Hexapoda
classis = Insecta
ordo = Hymenoptera
subordo = Apocrita
superfamilia = Apoidea
familia = Halictidae
subdivision_ranks = Subfamilies
subdivision =

Halictidae is a cosmopolitan family of the order Hymenoptera consisting of small (> 4 mm) to midsize (> 8 mm) bees which are usually dark-colored and often metallic in appearance. Several species are all or partly green and a few are red; a number of them have yellow markings, especially the males, which commonly possess yellow faces, a pattern widespread among the various families of bees. They are commonly referred to as sweat bees (especially the smaller species), as they are often attracted to perspiration; when pinched, females can give a minor sting.

ystematics and evolution

Halictidae belong to the Hymenopteran superfamily Apoidea, series Anthophila. The oldest fossil record of Halictidae dates back to Early Eocene [Engel,M.S, Archibald,S.B. An Early Eocene bee (Hymenoptera: Halictidae) from Quilchena, British Columbia. The Canadian Entomologist, Vol. 135, No. 1, 2003] . Currently, the family is divided into four subfamilies, many genera and more than 2000 known species. Rophitinae appears to be the sister group to the remaining three subfamilies (Nomiinae, Nomioidinae, Halictinae) based on both morphology and molecular data. [Patiny,S et al., Phylogenetic relationships and host-plant evolution within the basal clade of Halictidae (Hymenoptera, Apoidea). Cladistics 24 (2008) 255–269]



Most halictids nest in the ground, though a few nest in wood, and they mass-provision their young (a mass of pollen and nectar is formed inside a waterproof cell, an egg laid upon it, and the cell is sealed off, so the larva is given all of its food at one time, as opposed to "progressive provisioning", where a larva is fed repeatedly as it grows, as in honey bees). All species are pollen feeders and may be important pollinators.

Eusocial species

Many species in the subfamily Halictinae are eusocial at least in part, with fairly well-defined queen and worker castes (though not the same as the caste system in honey bees), and certain manifestations of their social behavior appear to be facultative in various lineages.

Cleptoparasitic species

Several other genera and species of halictids are cleptoparasites of other bees (mostly other halictids), and the behavior has evolved at least nine times independently within the family. The most well-known and common are species in the genus "Sphecodes", which are somewhat wasp-like in appearance (often shining black with blood-red abdomen- German: Blutbienen - usually 4-9 mm in body length); the female "Sphecodes" enters the cell with the provision mass, eats the host egg, and lays an egg of her own in its place.

"Nocturnal" species

The Halictidae is one of the four bee families that contains some species that are crepuscular; these halictids are active only at dusk or in the early evening, and therefore technically considered "vespertine" (e.g. in the subgenus "Sphecodogastra" of "Lasioglossum"), or sometimes truly nocturnal (e.g. in the genus "Megalopta"). These bees, as is typical in such cases, have greatly enlarged ocelli. The other families with some crepuscular species are Andrenidae, Colletidae, and Apidae.

External links

* [http://www.cirrusimage.com/Bees_halictid.htm Family Halictidae] Large format diagnostic photos, information.
* [http://www.everythingabout.net/articles/biology/animals/arthropods/insects/bees/sweat_bee/ Everything About the Sweat Bee] - Description and photo of the sweat bee.
* [http://zoologie.umh.ac.be/hymenoptera/galerie/exploredb.aspx?parent=45 Image Gallery from Gembloux]
* http://www.bugguide.net (Search for Halictidae, North American species only).


*Engel, M.S. (2000) Classification of the bee tribe Augochlorini (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). "Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History" 250: 1-89.
*cite book|author=Grimaldi, D. and Engel, M.S. |title=Evolution of the Insects|year=2005|publisher=Cambridge University Press|id=ISBN 0-521-82149-5

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