Ceratina (Xanthoceratina)


Family: Apidae
Subfamily: Xylocopinae
Tribe: Ceratinini
Genus: Ceratina Latreille, 1802
Subgenus: Xanthoceratina Vecht, 1952
Common name: small carpenter bees


Ceratina (Xanthoceratina) have black to red integument, usually with extensive yellow markings on the head, thorax, and abdomen (Hirashima 1971a). Their body length can vary from 5.0–10.5 mm (Michener 2007).

Diagnostic characteristics

(modified from Hirashima 1971a)

  • Maxillary palpi 6-segmented.
  • Paraocular areas with yellow maculations.
  • Paraocular area above antennal socket impunctate.
  • Preoccipital ridge rounded.
  • Terga with graduli present on T1T5.
  • Female hind tibia with a basal spine.
  • Female with wax areas on S2 and S3 present.
  • Male with graduli present on S1 and S6, although gradulus on S6 sometimes evanescent or nearly absent.
  • Male S3 to S5 of male densely covered with short, white setae.
  • Male S6 with two small, rounded teeth medially on apical portion.
  • Male T6 two rounded median teeth in the middle.
  • Male T7 bluntly rounded or faintly bituburculate.
  • Male genitalia with four patches of setae.

May be confused with

Ceratina (Xanthoceratina) looks very similar to Ceratina (Lioceratina), and it has been suggested that these subgenera may be synonymous (Michener 2007). Female Ceratina (Xanthoceratina) differ in the distinct basitibial spine and male Ceratina (Xanthoceratina) differ in the four bundles of hairs on genitalia which are absent in Ceratina (Lioceratina) (Michener 2007).

Host associations

Ceratina (Xanthoceratina) are known to visit the following plant species: Saurauia nudiflora (Actinidiaceae), Rubus moluccanus (Rosaceae), Impatiens platypetala (Balsaminaceae), Persicaria chinensis (Polygonaceae), Trevesia sundaica (Araliaceae), and an undetermined Cucurbitaceae (Van Der Vecht 1952).

Nesting behavior

There are no published records on the nesting habits of Ceratina (Xanthoceratina), but as in other Ceratina, they are suspected to use pithy stems and small, hollowed branches of plants.


Ceratina (Xanthoceratina) includes seven described species (Van Der Vecht 1952; Ascher and Pickering 2020).

Known invasives

There are no known invasives.


Ceratina (Xanthoceratina) are found in southeastern Asia, from the southern part of China south through Indonesia (Michener 2007).

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

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