Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




Regional Maps

Superfamily APOIDEA (s. l.)

Social Bees, Solitary Bees

Compiler and date details

6 July 2012 - Danielle N. Stringer, John T. Jennings & Andrew D. Austin, Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide SA 5005

2012 - Entries updated by Ken Walker, Museum Victoria

30 March 2006 - Updated and revised by Ken L. Walker, Museum Victoria, 11 Nicholson St, Carlton, Victoria, Australia

1993 - J.C. Cardale, CSIRO Division of Entomology, Canberra, Australia


The bees and sphecoid wasps have been variously treated in the past but most often as separate superfamilies, the Apoidea s.str. and Sphecoidea (e.g. Naumann 1991). However, within the last 10 years there has been growing phylogenetic evidence that the bees, as a robust monophyletic group, are nested inside the sphecoid wasps (e.g. Melo & Gonçalves 2005). This has been confirmed by a recent detailed molecular study by Debevec et al. (2012), which places the bees (‘Anthophila’) within the Crabronidae, which is itself paraphyletic. These relationships thus necessitate a comprehensive reorganisation of both groups.

To provide some stability to the classification of Apoidea s.l. two informal groups are recognised here which comprise 11 families worldwide, eight of which occur in Australia. The Spheciformes (=Sphecoidea of earlier classifications) include the Ampulicidae, Crabronidae, Heterogynaidae (non-Australian) and Sphecidae s.str.; and Apiformes including all bees (=Anthophila sensu Debevec et al. 2012) and comprising Apidae, Andrenidae, Colletidae, Halictidae, Megachilidae, Melittidae and Stenotritidae, of which Andrenidae and Melittidae do not occur in Australia (Michener 2000).


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
22-Oct-2015 APOIDEA (s. l.) 22-Oct-2015 REVIEWED
07-Aug-2012 20-Aug-2012 MODIFIED
08-Aug-2012 MODIFIED