Andrena clarkella


The female is a robust, medium sized mining bee. Fresh specimens are quite distinctive and with experience can be recognised in the field. Almost always found on willow (Salix) flowers in early spring. The face (clypeus) has dense black hairs across its entire width. The thorax has dense, deep reddish-orange hairs across the dorsal surface. The abdomen has dense black hair, particularly on tergites 1 and 2. The hind tibia and basitarsus are yellowish-orange but this colour can often be obscured by pollen collected on the hind legs. The male is less distinctive, particularly so in older specimens. Very fresh specimens exhibit quite bright orange hair across the top of the thorax, with pale golden hairs on the sides of the thorax, with at least a few black hairs amongst these pale golden hairs. The posterior margin of the gena is almost right angled. 

Similar Species

Larger specimens of female A. bicolor Fabricius may be taken for this species, but A. bicolor has dark hind tibia and basitarsus.

Identification difficulty

Female Male

Recording advice

Female: Unless identified by a recognised expert, a photo is required. If the photo doesn't show the key ID features then in the comments box describe the size and identifying characters you have observed.

Male: A photo is required and the specimen should be examined with a microscope. In the comments box, state the key or ID method used and describe the size and identifying characters.


Areas where willow species occur.

When to see it

This is often the first solitary species of bee to be found in the spring, sometimes flying in mid-February.

Life History

As with many of the early spring bees, A. clarkella forages almost exclusively from willow (sallow) blossom.

UK Status

Local but very widely distributed throughout the British Isles.

VC55 Status

Status in Leicestershire and Rutland not known.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map