Marine Animal Encyclopedia
Dune Snail Bee Osmia aurulenta
Important in the pollination of sand-dune plants, the dune snail bee has a compact, brownish black body with a dense covering of golden red hairs that later fade to gray. Unlike the honey bee, which carries any pollen it collects in pouches on its legs, the dune snail bee carries its pollen in a brush of hairs under its abdomen. Male bees of this species emerge between April and July, a little earlier in the year than the females, and seek out territories that contain a snail shell. They then leave scent marks (pheromones) on the stems of plants to attract passing females. Once a female dune snail bee has mated with her chosen partner, she will adjust the position of the shell so that the entrance is oriented in the most sheltered direction and lays her eggs inside it.