Genus: Lithurgopsis Fox, 1902
Common name: none
Lithurgopsis have a robust, rounded body form (Michener 2007). They range in body length from 7.5–20 mm. They are dull black, often with pale bands of hair on the terga and sterna (Michener 2007). Females often have lobes or horns on their supraclypeal area underneath the antennae and dense ventral scopae. Lithurgopsis was previously a subgenus of Lithurgus (Gonzalez et al. 2013).
(modified from Michener 2007 unless otherwise stated)
There are no known invasives.
In the U.S., Lithurgopsis spp. are primarily specialists on Cactaceae, including Opuntia spp. and Echinocactus spp., and may serve a very important role in their pollination (Wilson and Carril 2016). This host limitation may limit Lithurgopsis to xeric regions.
Lithurgopsis spp. are solitary, although sometimes gregarious, wood-boring bees that excavate their own cavities within the wood (Rozen and Hall 2014). Dead rotting wood as well as firm nondegraded wood, woody stems such as Agave stalks, and occasionally man-made wood structures or wood-based materials are used (Rozen and Hall 2014). Their habit of burrowing into standing wooden structures can be particularly damaging over time. Their nesting habits can be peculiar compared to other megachilid bees. They typically do not line nests, but L. apicalis will occasionally lacquer the nest entrance with nectar (Rust et al. 2004). One elongated chamber, or branch, may contain multiple provisions with brood contained one after another in a linear series (Rozen and Hall 2014). Wood particles are sometimes used to partition the nest chamber into multiple separate cells (Rozen and Hall 2014).
Lithurgopsis occurs only in the Western Hemisphere, usually in warm temperate or tropic areas. In the U.S., it occupies the dry areas of the southern and western U.S., and is rare or absent in the northeastern U.S. (Michener 2007).