P.A. Gainey

Several nationally noteworthy entomologists have studied the aculeates in Cornwall since the early 19th century Rev. A. Thornley of Carbis Bay, and Mr. G.M. Spooner made especially important contributions during the inter-war years, Mr Spooner continued to record until the mid-1980’s. In the post 1980 period, the Biological Survey team of the National Trust (under K.N.A. Alexander) provided detailed records from the numerous Trust properties, including many records of nationally declining species. Additional detailed records have also come from M. Edwards from unpublished surveys undertaken on behalf of the National Trust. Haes (1997) produced an account of the Red Data Book and nationally notable bees and wasps to be found in Cornwall.

Cornwall has, for its size, a large number of aculeate species and is regarded as the stronghold for several of these. The extensive heathlands and long coastline of Cornwall provides excellent habitat for aculeates. The peri-glacial ‘head’ around the Lizard Peninsula and elsewhere is particularly good for aculeates, as indeed, are the calcareous sand dune systems on the north coast. The great length of the Cornish hedge system, with its associated flowery verges, provides another good habitat. Recreational and agricultural pressures over the past 30-40 years have, however, destroyed much key habitat for aculeates. The loss of sand dune habitat to car parking, golf courses and holiday camps has been particularly damaging. Agricultural habitats have suffered from the over-use on non-selective insecticides and from mechanical hedge slashers on the species-rich Cornish hedges. Conversely, on the credit side, many areas of prime invertebrate habitat are now under protection by the creation of National Nature Reserves and SSSI. The National Trust is also promoting the maintenance of species-rich habitat on its land. A prime area of aculeate habitat, on coastal dunes at Penhale is owned by the Ministry of Defence and is closed to the public. All of this withstanding, it is a fact, however that many rare or scarce species of aculeates, once present, have not been re-found during the post-1980 period.

The status of the RDB and Notable species listed below is as given by Falk (1991). The names of the various species are those given in BWARS Members Handbook (2004). Other references used include the unpublished lists of Cornish aculeates compiled by Mr. G.M. Spooner and the Provisional Atlas’ of the Aculeate Hymenoptera of Britain and Ireland parts 1-6 edited by Mr. R. Edwards (1997-2006). The author would also like to acknowledge the immensely invaluable help and expertise of Mr. Mike Edwards in preparing this account.

1. Wasps

1.1. RDB wasps

Ancistrocerus antilope a mason wasp

Chrysis gracillima a ruby-tailed wasp

Cryptocheilus notatus a spider-hunting wasp

Diodontus insidiosus a solitary wasp

Hedychrum niemelai a ruby-tail wasp

Mimumesa littoralis a solitary wasp

1.2 Nationally notable wasps

Aporus unicolor Purse-web Spider Wasp

Auplopus carbonarius a spider wasp

Chrysis illgeri a ruby-tailed wasp

Chrysis schencki a ruby-tailed wasp

Chrysis radians a ruby-tailed wasp

Crossocerus binotatus a solitary wasp

Ectemnius sexcinctus a solitary wasp

Evagetes dubius a spider-hunting wasp

Lestiphorus bicinctus a solitary wasp

Methoca articulata Tiger-beetle Wasp

Nysson dimidiatus a ‘cuckoo’ wasp

Nysson trimaculatus a ‘cuckoo’ wasp

Oxybelus argentatus a solitary wasp

Podalonia hirsuta a digger wasp

Priocnemis agilis a spider hunting wasp

Tiphia minuta The Small Tiphia wasp

2. Bees

2.1 RDB bees

Andrena alfkenella a solitary mining bee

Andrena hattorfiana a solitary mining bee

Andrena proxima a solitary mining bee

Andrena rosae a solitary mining bee

Andrena simillima a solitary mining bee

Nomada ferruginata a ‘cuckoo’ bee

Nomada fulvicornis a ‘cuckoo’ bee

Nomada hirtipes a ‘cuckoo’ bee

Nomada lathburiana a ‘cuckoo’ bee

Nomada roberjeotiana a ‘cuckoo’ bee

2.2 Nationally notable bees

Andrena apicata a solitary mining bee

Andrena argentata a solitary mining bee

Andrena falsifica a solitary mining bee

Andrena fulvago a solitary mining bee

Andrena humilis a solitary mining bee

Andrena labiata a solitary mining bee

Andrena marginata a solitary mining bee

Andrena nigriceps a solitary mining bee

Andrena ocreata a solitary mining bee

Andrena pilipes a solitary mining bee

Andrena trimmerana a solitary mining bee

Anthophora quadrimaculata The Four-spotted Flower Bee

Colletes marginatus a mining bee

Dasypoda altercator a solitary mining bee

Eucera longicornis The Long-horned Eucera Bee

Lasioglossum xanthopus a mining bee

Megachile dorsalis The Silvery Leaf-cutter Bee

Melitta tricincta a solitary mining bee

Nomada flavopicta a ‘cuckoo’ bee

Nomada fucata a ‘cuckoo’ bee

Nomada integra a ‘cuckoo’ bee

Sphecodes crassus a ‘cuckoo’ bee

Sphecodes ferruginatus a ‘cuckoo’ bee

Stelis punctulatissima a ‘cuckoo’ bee

3. Provisionally nationally scarce species

Work for the publication of the Provisional Atlas’ of Aculeate Hymenoptera of Britain and Ireland, parts 1-6, (1997-2006) revealed that various other species had undergone recent decline and that, even thought they were not noted in Falk (1991), their current status should be revised. In early 2008 a team consisting of BWARS, JNCC delegates and other interested parties convened to re-evaluate the current status of the British aculeate fauna along the lines of IUCN criteria. It is likely that all or most of the species listed below will be upgraded to at least the level of Nb Status. For the present these will be designated as provisionally Nationally Notable (Nb) or pNb.

Andrena coitana a mining bee

Andrena tarsata a solitary mining bee

Andrena thoracica a solitary mining bee

Anoplius concinnus a spider hunting wasp

Astata boops a digger wasp

Caliadurgus fasciatellus a spider hunting wasp

Chrysis viridula a ruby-tailed wasp

Cerceris ruficornis a solitary wasp

Ceropales maculata a spider hunting wasp

Dryudella pinguis a digger wasp

Lasioglossum prasinum a solitary mining bee

Melitta leporina a solitary mining bee

Nomada obtusifrons a ‘cuckoo’ bee

Pseudospinolia neglecta

4. Local Species

Andrena nigroaenea sarnia a solitary mining bee

Bombus muscorum var. scyllonius ‘ Scilly Bee’

Nationally Rare or Nationally Scarce species once present but not found in Cornwall since before 1980.


Eumenes coarctatus Na.

Mutilla europaea Nb.

Arachnospila minutula Nb.

Priocnemis coriacea Na.

Mellinus crabroneus RDB1 Endangered/Extinct.

Nysson interuptus RDB2 Vulnerable.


Andrena bimaculata Nb.

Andrena ocreata Nb.

Nomada armata RDB1.

Hylaeus signatus Nb.

Sphecodes spinulosus RDB2 Vulnerable.

Osmia pilicornis Na.

Osmia xanthomelana RDB1.

Stelis phaeoptera RDB2 Vulnerable.

Ceratina cyanea RDB3.

Nationally widespread species recorded from five or less 10km squares in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly since 1979, together with the number of 10km squares in which they have been found since 1979.


Chrysis mediata (1)

Ancistrocerus parietinus (2)

Ancistrocerus trifasciatus (4)

Symmorphus gracilis (3)

Dipogon subintermedius (1)

Dipogon variegatus (5)

Priocnemis pertubator (1)

Priocnemis pusilla (5)

Crabro peltarius (5)

Crossocerus capitosus (2)

Crossocerus dimidiatus (4)

Crossocerus podacricus (4)

Crossocerus quadrimaculatus (4)

Crossocerus tarsatus (2)

Diodontus tristus (2)

Ectemnius cavifrons (1)

Nysson spinosus (2)

Passaloecus corniger (1)

Passaloecus singularis (1)

Passaloecus gracilus (1)

Pemphredon inornata (2)

Pemphredon lugubris (2)

Trypoxylon clavicerum (2)

Trypoxylon figulus (3)

Trypoxylon media (1)

Dolichovespula norwegica (3)

Dolichovespula media (2)

Cerceris rybyensis (1)

Ancistrocerus parietum (2)

Arachnospila trivialis (1) IoS only

Bethylus fuscicornis (2)

Crossocerus megacephalus (1) IoS only

Harpactus tumidus (1)

Symmorphus bifasciatus (3)

Symmorphus gracilis (1)

Nomada leucophthalma (2)

Pseudomalus auratus (2)

Rhopalum clavipes (2)

Rhopalum coarctatum (1)

Tiphia femorata (2)

Ectemnius cephalotes (1)

Lonchodryinus ruficornis (1)

Ectemnius lapidarius (1)


Andrena praecox (1)

Andrena angustior (3)

Andrena clarkella (4)

Andrena fulva (2)

Andrena furcator (3)

Andrena nitida (5)

Andrena subopaca (5)

Andrena varians (1)

Panugus calcaratus (3)

Colletes daviesanus (2)

Colletes hederae (2)

Hylaeus confusus (2)

Lasioglossum cupromicrans (1)

Lasioglossum fratellum (2)

Lasioglossum lativentre (4)

Lasioglossum nitidiusculum (3)

Sphecodes fasciatus (3)

Sphecodes hyalinatus (1)

Coelioxys elongata (1)

Coelioxys conoidea (4)

Megachile versicolor (4)

Megachile ligniseca (1)

Osmia leaiana (2)

Andrena chrysoceles (1)

Anthophora furcata (1)

Osmia caerulescens (1)

Hyaleus confusus (1)

Lasioglossum laevigatum (1)

Lindenius panzeri (2)

Melecta albifrons (2)

Sphecodes puncticeps (2)

Mimesa equestris (2)