Red-tailed Blood Bee - Sphecodes rubicundus


A strikingly large Sphecodes. Male has knobbly antennae, (13 segments). Antennae not obviously compressed, and with fairly narrow zones of pubescence. It has a greater area of red in the body than males of other large Sphecodes species. Care is needed with the identification of all Sphecodes species

Similar Species

Sphecodes spinulosus is similar but S. rubicundus lacks a flange at the back of the head, a step on sternite two, and bristles on rear tibiae of that species.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Unless identified by a recognised expert, 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.


Found in old, herb-rich meadowland, and soft-rock coastal cliffs and landslips.

When to see it

Flying several weeks earlier than other males Sphecodes, apart from Sphecodes spinulosus.  It is univoltine, seen from early May to mid-July. The males emerge in the spring rather than late summer or autumn; unusual for halictine bees including most Sphecodes. This flight period is in synchronization with that of the host: Andrena, rather than Lasioglossum or Halictus.

Life History

A cleptoparasite of Andrena labialis, with which it is usually recorded.

UK Status

Nationally Scarce and mainly confined to the southern half of Britain.

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