left arrowball, from Animation City   Ophrys caesiella   right arrowball, from Animation City

Ophrys caesiella P.DELFORGE (2000) was described from the North of Malta in Natural.Belges 81,3 (Orchid.13) p.233. The species is rather small-bloomed with a labellum length of 9 to 13 mm, and early in flower. The labellum has velvety brown to purple pilosity and a bright blue labellum. Its petals are much shorter than the petals of the similar Ophrys obaesa. Most probably PAULUS in Jour.Eur.Orch. 33 (1) p.141-142 means Ophrys caesiella, when he calls the smaller flowered of the two fusca s.l. of Malta an 'Ophrys leucadica in a locally form', which is pollinated by Zonandrena flavipes.

DELFORGE counts orchids from Southwestern Sicily to Ophrys caesiella. This could be doubtful, since in Sicily Ophrys obaesa is also pollinated by Zonandrena flavipes, and one could expect, that species in the same region, which are abdominally pollinated by the same bee, are mixed up during the evolution, which would lead to one species. Since there are much more obaesa than caesiella, obaesa should be the dominant in this case. According to my experience Ophrys caesiella is earlier in flower, at often lower and dryer sites than obaesa.

Some experts think, that Ophrys gazella J.DEVILLERS-TERSCHUREN & P.DEVILLERS (2000) resp. Ophrys africana FOELSCHE & FOELSCHE (2001), both described from Tunisia, are identical with Ophrys caesiella. I myself know only the Sicilian but not the Maltesian nor the Tunisian orchids.

Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Niscemi 14.3.02 Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Noto 13.3.02
Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Niscemi 14.3.02
 
Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Noto 13.3.02
Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Niscemi 14.3.02 Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Niscemi 14.3.02
Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Niscemi 14.3.02
 
Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Niscemi 14.3.02
Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Niscemi 31.3.98 Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Niscemi 13.3.02
Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Niscemi 31.3.98
 
Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Niscemi 13.3.02
Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Niscemi 3.4.98 Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Niscemi 3.4.98
Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Niscemi 3.4.98 Ophrys caesiella, Sicily Niscemi 3.4.98
 
 
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