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Identify a native bee

Answer the questions below to identify any bee found in Australia, as far as practicable at this stage of DIscoverBees. This identification page will be expanded and improved as the project proceeds.


Hint: the ? icon to the left of each question will provide guidance and help to understand the question.

You can read more about bees and their morphology and characteristics, to help with using this key, here.

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Is your bee a male or female?

Determining the sex of your bee is the first step to identifying it using this key, as females and males of the same species are often dissimilar in a number of characteristics, and are therefore dealt with separately in parts of this key. 

The quickest way to determine sex is to look to see if your specimen has a protruding sting. If you see a sting, it is a female, as male bees do not possess a sting. However, many female specimens die with their stings not protruding from the metasoma. 

So, in addition to the presence of a sting, there are two easy methods of determining the sex of bee specimens - you need to: 

1) count the number of antenna! segments (including the scape and pedicel) - females have 12 antennal segments while males have 13

2) count the number of visible metasomal segments - males have six visible tergites while females have seven.

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My bee is a male (it has 13 antennal segments and seven visible tergites)

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My bee is a female (it has 12 antennal segments and six visible tergites)

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