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Holotype: Tunisia: 40 km NW Gafsa, 17.iv.1994, 1♀, leg. M. Schwarz. Deposited in the OÖLM. Paratypes: Tunisia: 40 km NW Gafsa, 17.iv.1994, 3♂, 1♀, leg. M. Schwarz. Paratypes are deposited at the OÖLM, with a male and female retained in the personal collection of TJW.
Placement of this species into a subgenus is not immediately obvious. Andrena gafsensis is a small to medium sized Andrena with a strongly flattened clypeus that is extensively shiny in both the female (Fig. 56) and the male where it is coloured yellow, with this colouration extending onto the lower paraocular areas (Fig. 60). This pattern of yellow colouration is typically found in males from the subgenera Holandrena Pérez, 1980, Ulandrena Warncke, 1968, and Nobandrena Warncke, 1968. Specimens can quickly be separated from the first two because of the sculpturing of the episternum and propodeum (simple, not honeycomb-areolate) and from the second by the shape of the female hind tibial spur (straight not medially broadened) and the genitalia of the male (penis valve not inflated).
Nobandrena normally contains large species in the range of 13–14 mm in length, most of which have males with domed clypei which are extensively yellow-marked, with the yellow extending onto the lower paraocular areas. However, there are two smaller species A. iliaca Warncke, 1969 (7–8 mm, Turkey, Israel, and Jordan) and A. ounifa Warncke, 1974 (7–7.5 mm, Algeria, see below for new description of female) placed into the Nobandrena by Warncke where the male clypeus is shinier and flatter, whilst retaining the same colour pattern. This flattened clypeus can be seen in the female of A. ounifa which has a strongly flattened and shining clypeus in both the female (Fig. 94) and the male (Fig. 98). However, these two taxa clearly do not belong in the Nobandrena, with molecular analysis placing A. iliaca in the Fuscandrena (Pisanty et al. 2020). The position of A. ounifa is unclear without molecular work, and so confident placement of A. gafsensis is not possible at this time.
Given these problems, Andrena gafsensis is therefore best recognised in the female by the distinctive clypeal structure (Fig. 56), but then separated from A. ounifa by the short propodeum (Fig. 57) and by the colouration of the tergites which are almost completely red except for the basal parts of T1 and two lateral black spots on T2 (Fig. 58). The male can be recognised by the clypeal structure and colouration, but can also be separated by the short propodeum as in the female and by the structure of the genitalia (Fig. 62) which are most similar to A. iliaca but the gonocoxites form lateral points and the gonostyli lack an emargination in the outer margin.
Female: Body length 9 mm (Fig. 55). Head: Black, as wide as long. Clypeus very slightly arched laterally, flattened over the majority of its area (Fig. 56). Laterally with punctures separated by one puncture diameter but only immediately adjacent to clypeal margin, remaining parts more sparsely punctured, punctures separated by 2–3 puncture diameters, underlying surface smooth and shiny. Process of labrum broad, trapezoidal, approximately twice as wide basally as long. Gena approximately width of compound eye. Gena, vertex, face, and scape with white hairs, the longest not exceeding length of the scape. Foveae of average width, occupying just over half the distance between top of compound eye and lateral ocellus. Antennae black, A4–12 extensively lightened orange below, A3 equalling A4+5+6. Ocelloccipital distance short, less than 1/3 width of lateral ocellus. Mesosoma: Scutum and scutellum densely punctured, punctures separated by 1–1.5 puncture diameters, underlying surface of the scutum shagreened anteriorly and laterally, shiny centrally, posteriorly and on scutellum. Episternum microreticulate, dull. Lateral faces of propodeum (propodeal corbicula) shagreened, weakly shining. Hind face of propodeum microreticulate and weakly rugose, rugosity outlining propodeal triangle which is rugose and therefore defined by change in texture (Fig. 57). Scutum and scutellum with short brown hair, at most achieving the length of A3. Episternum and propodeum with longer white hair, never exceeding length of the scape. Legs dark, tarsi lightened brown, pubescence brown to brownish white. Femoral scopa white, tibial scopa white to light brown. Wings hyaline, venation brown, stigma light brown. Nervulus slightly antefurcal. Metasoma: Tergites light red with exception of black basal and lateral parts of T1 and two black lateral spots on T2, and apex of T5 which is slightly lightened brown (Fig. 58). Sternites light red with exception of S1 and apical margins of S4–6. Tergites densely, finely, and evenly punctured, punctures separated by one puncture diameter. T2–4 with thin white hair bands of fine hairs, on T2–3 widely interrupted, on T4 complete. T5–6 with golden hairs flanking pygidial plate, laterally white. Pygidial plate with slightly raised margins, centrally with longitudinal slightly raised area.
Male. Body length 9–10 mm (Fig. 59). Head: Black, slightly wider than long. Clypeus very shallowly arched, essentially flat, ivory-coloured with exception of two faint dark spots centrally, yellow colouration extending onto bottom parts of paraocular areas (Fig. 60). Underlying clypeal surface shiny, moderately and shallowly punctured, punctures separated by 1–2 puncture diameters. Process of labrum trapezoidal, fore margin broadly and shallowly emarginate, shiny. Pubescence and antennal colouration as in female, A3 equalling A4+5. Ocelloccipital distance slightly shorter than width of lateral ocellus. Mesosoma: Scutum and scutellum dark, shagreened, dull laterally and anteriorly, weakly shining only centrally, moderately punctured, punctures separated by one puncture diameter. Sculpturing of episternum and propodeum as in female. Pubescence as in female. Wings hyaline, venation brown, stigma light brown. Nervulus clearly antefurcal. Metasoma: Tergites predominantly dark, tergal margins slightly depressed, lightened yellow to orange (Fig. 61). Tergites microreticulate, weakly shining, shallowly punctured, punctures separated by 1–2 puncture diameters. T2–5 with loose white hair fringes, that on T2 weakly interrupted, the following complete. T6 with fringe of longer white-golden hairs. Genitalia simple, gonocoxites diverging apically and forming points (Fig. 62). Sternite 8 short, densely hairy.
Known only from the locus typicus in southern Tunisia.
Named after the nearest indicated town Gafsa in southern Tunisia.
- Wood, T; Michez, D; Cejas, D; Lhomme, P; Rasmont, P; 2020: An update and revision of the Andrena fauna of Morocco (Hymenoptera, Apoidea, Andrenidae) with the description of eleven new North African species ZooKeys, 974: 31-92. doi