Megachile (Aethomegachile)

Taxonomy

Family: Megachilidae
Subfamily: Megachilinae
Tribe: Megachilini
Genus: Megachile Latreille, 1802
Subgenus: Aethomegachile Baker and Engel, 2006
Common name: none

Overview

Megachile (Aethomegachile) are moderate sized bees with a body length of 7–13 mm (Engel and Baker 2006; Ascher et al. 2016a). These bees have black integument with black, red, tan or white hair (Ascher et al. 2016a).

Host associations

Megachile (Aethomegachile) are known to visit flowers from the plant families Acanthaceae, Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Hypericaceae, Lamiaceae, Melastomataceae, Myrtaceae, Orchidaceae, Oxalidaceae, and Passifloraceae (Yong et al. 2019; Ascher et al. 2016a; Udayakumar et al. 2019).

Nesting behavior

Megachile (Aethomegachile) construct cylindrical nests, and build their nest cells with pieces of leaves (Maeta et al. 1997). They have been observed nesting in soil, in decaying wood of trees, inside the hollow petioles of papaya, and even inside dry, fallen leaves (Katayama 1997; Maeta et al. 1997; Udayakumar et al. 2017; Udayakumar et al. 2019).

Diversity

Megachile (Aethomegachile) consists of 17 species (Ascher et al. 2016a; Trunz et al. 2016). None are known to occur in North America, although they have been found in Hawaii and U.S. Pacific island territories (Ascher et al. 2016a).

Known invasives

No members of this subgenus are known to be invasive (Russo 2016). However, Megachile laticeps, which is distributed on islands throughout the Indian and South Pacific Oceans, has potentially been introduced to Hawaii (Ascher et al. 2016a). A single specimen from 1983 was identified in 2016, but the species is not considered to be established (Ascher et al. 2016a).

Distribution

Megachile (Aethomegachile) are found predominantly in Asia, with some species found in Oceania. They range in distribution from India to Indonesia, north through China to southeastern Russia (Proshchalykin 2004; Ascher et al. 2016a). Additionally, they have been found on a number of islands in the Indian Ocean, such as Seychelles and the Maldives, and the North and South Pacific Oceans, including the U.S. state of Hawaii and the U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands (Krombein 1950; Ascher et al. 2016a). Three specimens (identified as Megachile laticeps) were collected in South Africa in 1897 and 1919 (Eardley and Ranwashe 2017).

Distribution
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<p><em>Megachile conjuncta </em>female face, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile conjuncta female face, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile conjuncta </em>female lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile conjuncta female lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile conjuncta </em>female abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile conjuncta female abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile igniscopata</em> male face, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile igniscopata male face, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile igniscopata</em> male lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile igniscopata male lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile igniscopata</em> male abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile igniscopata male abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt