Megachile (Leptorachina)


Family: Megachilidae
Subfamily: Megachilinae
Tribe: Megachilini
Genus: Megachile Latreille, 1802
Subgenus: Leptorachina Mitchell, 1980
Common name: none


Megachile (Leptorachina) are large, robust bees with black integument on their head, thorax, and abdomen, and sometimes with red to brown integument on their antenna, legs, mandibles, and tegula (Mitchell 1928). They have primarily white hair with various clusters of dark or intermixed hair throughout their body and apical bands of white hair on the terga (Mitchell 1928). They have a body length of approximately 14 mm (Mitchell 1928).

Diagnostic characteristics

(modified from Mitchell 1928; Mitchell 1980; Gonzalez et al. 2019)

  • Preoccipital carina absent.
  • Female clypeus with punctures sparse but distinct.
  • Female gena narrower than the width of the eye.
  • Female scutellum with posterior margin elevated and somewhat triangular.
  • Female mandibles four-toothed, with the second interspace nearly absent and a long cutting edge in the third interspace.
  • Female S6 with hair absent in the center of the disc.
  • Male front coxa with a spine.
  • Male front tarsi expanded.
  • Male mandible four-toothed with a basal tooth on the lower margin.
  • Male middle tibial spur present but short, much shorter than the width of the tibia.
  • Male T6 with lateral and sublateral teeth.

May be confused with

Megachile (Leptorachina) is similar to Megachile (Leptorachis) with the females of both subgenera having four-toothed mandibles with a small second interspace and mostly bare S6. Males are also similar by having very short tibial spurs on their mid-leg. Female M. (Leptorachina) can be differentiated by the low shiny carina bordered with a row of white hairs (Gonzalez et al. 2019). Male M. (Leptorachina) can be easily separated from M. (Leptorachis) by the expanded tarsi on the front leg (Mitchell 1980).

Host associations

Megachile (Leptorachina) have been observed visiting flowers from multiple plant families including: Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae, Oxalidaceae, and Verbenaceae (Mateus 1998; Freitas and Sazima 2006; Almeida and Laroca 2013; dos Santos 2013).

Nesting behavior

Nesting behavior unknown.


Megachile (Leptorachina) includes a single species, Megachile laeta (Michener 2007).

Known invasives

There are no known invasives.


Megachile (Leptorachina) is known from Central and South America, where they range from Costa Rica to Brazil and Paraguay (Raw 2007; Ramos et al. 2015).

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

<p><em>Megachile laeta </em>female face, photo: Colleen Meidt
Megachile laeta female face, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile laeta </em>female lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt
Megachile laeta female lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile laeta </em>female abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt
Megachile laeta female abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt