Guide to the Bee Genera within Apidae of Eastern North America, Part 1
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Guide to the Bee Genera within Apidae of Eastern North America, Part 1

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This is a guide to the identification of bees in the Family Apidae from eastern North America. This is part 1 of a 2 part presentation

This is a guide to the identification of bees in the Family Apidae from eastern North America. This is part 1 of a 2 part presentation

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Guide to the Bee Genera within Apidae of Eastern North America, Part 1 Guide to the Bee Genera within Apidae of Eastern North America, Part 1 Presentation Transcript

  • Big Bees – Part 1
  • Acknowledgements
    • This presentation has been put together by a consortium of North American bee biologists
    • This presentation has developed over many years and the original web picture acknowledgements were lost, if you see one of your pictures let us know and we will add your picture credit
    • Correspondence can be sent to Sam Droege at sdroege@usgs.gov
  • Format
    • Each Genus has an information page followed by a page of illustrations and a map of the distribution of Eastern North American species; western populations of Eastern species are shown, but the Western species are not mapped.
    • The number of Eastern species are listed at the top of the page
  • Apidae (Recently Combined with Anthophoridae) Groups of Genera
    • Covered in this presentation:
    • Anthophora – 6 species
    • Melecta - 1
    • Habropoda - 1
    • Holcopasites - 3
    • Neolarra - 1
    • Nomada - 80
    • Centris – 3
    • Ericrocis - 1
    • Ptilothrix – 1
    • Cemolobus - 1
    • Xylocopa – 2
    • Ceratina – 4
    • Euglossa - 1
    • Epeoloides – 1
    • Covered in Apidae part 2 presentation:
    • Peponapis - 1
    • Xenoglossa - 2
    • Apis - 1
    • Bombus - 20
    • Anthophorula - 2
    • Exomalopsis - 1
    • Eucera - 7
    • Florilegus - 1
    • Melissodes – 27
    • Triepeolus - 23
    • Epeolus - 20
    • Melitoma - 1
    • Svastra - 5
    • Tetraloniella - 2
    • Xeromelecta - 2
  • Anthophora
    • Large, bumblebee in size, shape, and often coloration, can be found from Spring through Fall
    • Lacks the bare patch (corbicula) found on the tibia of Bombus females
    • Often nests in aggregations in the ground, in banks of dirt, or earthen homes
    • Interior cells of the forewing without the abundant small hairs common in most of the other large species (except Habropoda and Melecta ). These hairs most readily visible by sighting across the plane of the wing
    • Told from Habropoda by the shape of the marginal and submarginal cells
    • A recently introduced European species, Anthophora plumipes , expected to spread widely
    • Similar genera: Melecta, Xeromelecta, Florilegus, Tetraloniella, Melissodes, Svastra, Peponapis, Melitoma, Eucera
  • Anthophora - 6
  • Melecta
    • About the size of a medium bumblebee and similar in aspect
    • Rare nest parasite of Anthophora
    • Marginal cell unusually short, its length only about as long as the end of the marginal cells
    • Similar to Anthophora in that it has no minute hairs on the surface of the front wing’s interior cells
    • Female has no pollen carrying hairs
    • Similar genera: Xeromelecta, Anthophora, Tetraloniella, Svastra, Eucera, Melissodes, Melitoma, Florilegus, Peponapis, Xenoglossa, Cemolobus
  • Melecta pacifica – Parasite of Anthophora Rare
  • Habropoda
    • Uncommon, the size of small bumblebee, prefers ericaceous shrubs
    • Usually associated with sandy areas
    • Female looks very bumblebee like, male has bright yellow/ivory facial markings
    • Like Anthophora and Melecta the interior of the front wing’s cells are nearly hairless
    • Shape of the wing cells separates this species from Anthophora
    • Similar genera: Anthophora
  • Habropoda laboriosa
  • Holcopasites
    • Uncommon to rare nest parasite of Calliopsis , tiny, just a few millimeters long
    • The only genus where the male has 12 not the usual 13 antennal segments
    • Abdomens are red with bright white patches of very short, prone hair, often in small regular patches
    • Note that the tip of the marginal cell is clearly pulled away from the margin of the wing
    • Similar genera: None
  • Holcopasites – 3 Tiny, Overlooked, Male antennae = 12
  • Neolarra
    • Very rare (no specimens seen recently in the East), nest parasite of Perdita
    • Only genus with 1 submarginal cell
    • Sometimes small members of the closely related (to bees) Sphecid wasp genus Oxybelus are mistaken for this genus
    • An effort should be made to look for this species in Perdita areas
    • Similar genera: None
  • Neolarra – Perdita Parasite - 1 Super small, super rare, 1 submarginal cell
  • Nomada
    • Common, nest parasite of Andrena and a few other genera, almost always some striking pattern of yellow, red, and black
    • Most species are found in the spring but a few are found in the Summer and Fall
    • Often mistaken for wasps due to the general lack of hair and thin wasp-like appearance
    • Many species are in taxonomic limbo with unassociated males and females, poor descriptions, and recent molecular work indicating that there are more species present in the bidentate and white-spined groups than there are currently names…expect quite a number of changes over the coming few years
    • Jugal lobe unusually short only one-sixth the size of the vannal lobe or less
    • Similar genera: Sphecodes
  • Nomada – Andrena Parasite - 80 Common, Wasp-like, lots of red or yellow usually present
  • Centris
    • Size of small bumblebees, restricted to Florida, native species are uncommon to rare, an introduced species is becoming common in South Florida
    • Females are pollen specialists on only a few plant genera
    • Both the males and females have very robust rear legs, covered in thick hair
    • Wing venation important, note the very small stigma and the shape of the submarginal cells
    • Similar genera: Bombus, Ptilothrix, Xylocopa
  • Centris - 3 - Go to Florida
  • Ericrocis
    • Extremely rare, restricted to Florida, no recent specimen records, nest parasite of Centris
    • A dramatic looking bee, most similar to Xeromelecta , has prominent patches of light hair on the abdomen and thorax and a distinctly pointed rear of the abdomen
    • Instead of the usual pointed tibial spur on the middle leg found on most bees, their tibial spurs are slightly broadened at the tip which is notched or has small spines
    • An effort should be made to see if this species still exists in Florida
    • Similar genera: Epeolus, Triepolus, Epeoloides
  • Ericrocis lata – Centris parasite Florida species, very rare
  • Ptilothrix
    • Common early to mid-Summer species, most often found along marsh edge habitats and urban areas (where garden plants in the mallow family have been planted)
    • Pollen specialist on Hibiscus , size of a medium bumblebee, to which it closely resembles and is mistaken for
    • Has no arolium (pad) between its tarsal claws
    • Similar genera: Bombus, Xylocopa
  • Ptilothrix bombiformis
  • Cemolobus
    • Rare, size of a medium bumblebee
    • Unique in that the rim of the clypeus is not smooth but has three lobes, the central one wide and thick, the lateral ones more knob-like. The other Eucerines have uninterrupted clypeal rims
    • Pollen specialist on morning glories ( Ipomoea )
    • Similar genera: Melitoma, Anthophora, Eucera, Melissodes, Tetraloniella, Melecta, Xeromelecta, Peponapis, Svastra, Florilegus
  • Cemolobus ipomoeae – Morning Glory Specialist Rare, Size of Eucera, Looks like that group too
  • Melitoma
    • Regularly occurring species, but nowhere abundant, a bit larger than a honeybee
    • Hind wing venation is used to separate this genus in the guides, but the combination of the distinctive coloration and hair patterns along with the extremely long tongue (extending to the abdomen even when folded) works
    • Similar genera: Melecta, Xeromelecta, Anthophora, Xenoglossa, Peponapis, Florilegus, Melissodes, Eucera, Svastra, Tetraloniella, Cemolobus
  • Melitoma taurea – Morning Glory Specialist Tongue extends to abdomen, even when folded
  • Xylocopa
    • Common, the size of large bumblebees
    • Told from bumblebees in the field by the combination of all black abdomen ( X. virginica has sparse but uniform yellow hairs at the base of the abdomen) and that those hairs present on the abdomen are sparse enough to clearly see the shining integument (skin) below
    • Males with a white spot on their face, females dark
    • When resting hold their wings splayed some to the sides (resembling swept-back jet fighter wings), not neatly overlapped down the back like bumblebees
    • Under the microscope the unusually long and narrow marginal cell is distinctive
    • Similar genera: Bombus, Ptilothrix
  • Xylocopa - 2 – Carpenter Bees
  • Ceratina
    • Size of a single long-grain rice kernel
    • Dark metallic blue (often appearing black) with a prominent white mark on the clypeus
    • Skinny, lacks obvious hair, abdomen parallel-sided and ribbed like a plastic water bottle
    • Tip of abdomen with a small projecting point
    • Often holds its abdomen more upright than other genera
    • Easier to tell by learning the general shape and coloration of the clypeus than keying out
    • Similar genera: None, although many Osmia are about the same color
  • Ceratina - 4 Small Carpenter Bee Very Common, pith nester
  • Euglossa
    • One introduced species that is becoming common in certain parts of southern Florida
    • Bright green, lacks the wing venation of the other bright green bees in the area (all halictids)
    • Has extremely long tongue and rear legs with prominent projecting flanges
    • Similar genera: None
  • Euglossa viridissima Recent introduction into Florida
  • Epeoloides
    • Extremely rare, however there are recent records from Connecticut and the Maritimes
    • A little bit smaller than a honeybee
    • Nest parasite of Macropis
    • Different looking than other bees, but should key out easily
    • Similar genera: Triepeolus, Epeolus, Ericrocis
  • Epeoloides pilosula – Parasite of Macropis Very rare, endangered?
  • Resources
    • Species lists, Identification Guides, and Maps for genera and species are available at:
      • http://www.discoverlife.org/20/q?search=Apoidea
    • A guide to the genera of the bees of Canada is available at:
    • http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/ejournal/pgs_03/pgs_03.html
    • Mitchell’s 1960’s book on the bees of the Eastern United States is available as a series of pdf files at:
        • http://insectmuseum.org/easternBees.php
    • A slightly out of date guide to the identification of the genera of ALL of North America is available at:
    • http://www.knoxcellars.com/Merchant5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=KCNP&Product_Code=BGNA&Category_Code=BL