MARTYN F. CHILLMAID / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARTYN F. CHILLMAID / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Violet carpenter bee (Xylocopa violacea) feeding on a flower. This bee is striking for its size, it's dark blue/black body and its transparent brown wings that will iridesce blue/purple. It has recently bred in the UK and is the most common European species of carpenter bee and one of the largest bees in Europe. It is also native to Asia. Like most members of the genus Xylocopa, after mating it makes its nests in dead wood where the female excavates tunnels. The solitary female lays eggs and leaves a ball of nectar for each larvae before sealing up the nest. The male, with a distinctive red mark on the antennae, protects the nest until the female leaves but dies soon after. The adults pupate in late summer, feed and then hibernate until the following spring. The life cycle is approximately 18 months. Photographed in Drome, France.
Model release not required. Property release not required.