Ceratina (Megaceratina)


Family: Apidae
Subfamily: Xylocopinae
Tribe: Ceratinini
Genus: Ceratina Latreille, 1802
Subgenus: Megaceratina Hirashima, 1971
Common name: small carpenter bees


Ceratina (Megaceratina) are large and robust bees that have brownish wings with purple reflection (Daly 1985). The only species in the genus, C. (Megaceratina) sculpturata, is a highly polymorphic species with black or sometimes red metasoma, and sometimes yellow or orange markings on their face and abdomen. Their body length varies from 10–12 mm (Daly 1985; Michener 2007).

Diagnostic characteristics

(modified from Daly 1985; Michener 2007)

May be confused with

Ceratina (Megaceratina) may be confused with large species of C. (Euceratina), which can be differentiated because their stigma and prestigma are short, compared to the long stigma in C. (Megaceratina). Ceratina (Megaceratina) can also resemble some species of C. (Pithitis) because they both have a distinct carina forming an inversed V on the supraclypeal area, but it is much weaker in C. (Pithitis) (Michener 2007).

Host associations

Floral associations are unknown.

Nesting behavior

Nesting behaviors of C. (Megaceratina) are unknown; however, it is expected that they nest in dead wood (pithy stems of plants) as most species of the genus Ceratina.


Ceratina (Megaceratina) is monotypic; the only known species is Ceratina (Megaceratina) sculpturata (Michener 2007).

Known invasives

There are no known invasives.


Ceratina (Megaceratina) occurs in tropical Africa, south of the Sahara Desert as far west as Senegal to Zaire and east to Uganda (Michener 2007).

​Distribution map generated by Discover Life -- click on map for details, credits, and terms of use.

<p><em>Ceratina</em> <em>sculpturata</em> female face, photo: Chelsey Ritner</p>
Ceratina sculpturata female face, photo: Chelsey Ritner
<p><em>Ceratina</em> <em>sculpturata</em> female lateral habitus, photo: Chelsey Ritner</p>
Ceratina sculpturata female lateral habitus, photo: Chelsey Ritner
<p><em>Ceratina</em> <em>sculpturata</em> female dorsal habitus, photo: Chelsey Ritner</p>
Ceratina sculpturata female dorsal habitus, photo: Chelsey Ritner