Osmia melanocephala


Family: Megachilidae
Subfamily: Megachilinae
Tribe: Osmiini
Genus: Osmia Panzer, 1806
Subgenus: O. (Osmia) Panzer, 1806
Species: Osmia melanocephala Morawitz, 1875
Common name: none


Osmia melanocephala are black bees with a slight metallic blue hue on the head and thorax and a metallic greenish hue on the abdomen. Females have black to dark brown hair on the head and thorax and yellowish-red hair on the abdomen (Wu 2006). Males are densely covered with red-yellow hair on their thorax and have light reddish-brown hair on their abdomen (Peters 1978; Wu 2006). Female body length is 10–13 mm, and male body length is 10–11 mm (Peters 1978; Wu 2006).

Diagnostic characteristics 

(modified from Peters 1978; Wu 2006)

  • Mouthparts much smaller than the length of the entire body when extended.
  • Female clypeus unmodified, without horns, median projection, or emargination.
  • Female scopa golden yellow.
  • Male abdomen with entirely pale, yellow to reddish pubescence, no black hairs intermixed.
  • Male antenna with F1 as long as F2.
  • Male S3 medially emarginate.
  • Male T7 with median emargination.

May be confused with 

Osmia melanocephala females can look similar to O. cornuta and O. kohlii that have entirely dark brown or black hair on the head and thorax and reddish hair on the abdomen. O. melanocephala are easily distinguished by their simple, unmodified clypeus (Peters 1978). Males can look similar to species like O. taurus that can sometimes have entirely pale red hair on their abdomen, but O. melanocephala can be differentiated by the long first flagellar segment (Wu 2006).


Osmia melanocephala adults have been recorded in flight from the end of May to the end of June (Peters 1978).

Host associations 

Osmia melanocephala are polylectic and have been observed collecting from 5 different plant families, with a strong preference for Fabaceae. Other known pollen sources are Rosaceae, Lonicera, and Boraginaceae (Haider et al. 2013).

Nesting behavior 



Osmia melanocephala specimens have been recorded in Xinjiang, China, northwestern Mongolia, and Turkmenistan (Wu 2006).

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Specimens of this taxon not available for imaging.