Megachile (Litomegachile)

Taxonomy

Family: Megachilidae
Subfamily: Megachilinae
Tribe: Megachilini
Genus: Megachile Latreille, 1802
Subgenus: Litomegachile Mitchell, 1934
Common name: none

Overview

Megachile (Litomegachile) are bees with broad abdomens, pale hairs, and white abdominal bands, and female scopa are white except for the last sternite (Michener 2007). These bees range in body length from 8–17 mm (Michener 2007).

Diagnostic characteristics

(modified from Mitchell 1935b; Michener 2007; Gonzalez 2008)

  • Female mandible is four-toothed with a small, beveled cutting edge between the second and third teeth and a complete cutting edge between the third and fourth teeth.
  • Female scopa white except on S6, which can sometimes be black.
  • Female T6 is concave in profile (Michener 2007).
  • Male fore coxa has an erect spine and lacks red hairs at the base of the spine.
  • Male mandible is three-toothed.

May be confused with

Megachile (Litomegachile) may be confused with bees within the subgenera Megachile (Eutricharaea) and Megachile (Megachile) due to their size, pale hairs, and white abdominal bands (Michener 2007). Female Megachile (Litomegachile) lack the white hair bands beneath the scopa found on Megachile (Eutricharaea). Unlike Megachile (Megachile), Megachile (Litomegachile) males have an erect spine on the fore coxa and females have a T6 which appears concave in profile (Michener 2007).

Host associations

Megachile (Litomegachile) are known to visit flowers in the plant family Fabaceae (Neff and Simpson 1988; Krombein and Norden 1995). They have been observed collecting pollen using thoracic vibration (Neff and Simpson 1988).

Nesting behavior

Megachile (Litomegachile) are typically ground nesting bees which have been observed building nests in road banks, dry undisturbed fields in hard soil, and underneath rocks, but have also been observed nesting in trap nests (Medler 1965; Eickwort et al. 1981; Williams et al. 1986). Further, they are known to use circular and oval pieces of cut leaves to form nest cells, nest plugs, and the bottom of their brood cells (Medler 1965; Williams et al. 1986; Kim 1992; Krombein and Norden 1995; Katayama 1997).

Diversity

Megachile (Litomegachile) is a subgenus that contains 12 species (Michener 2007; Bzdyk 2012; Sheffield and Genaro 2013).

Known invasives

There are no known invasives.

Distribution

Megachile (Litomegachile) ranges from British Columbia to Quebec in Canada, throughout the U.S., and south to Oaxaca, Mexico (Michener 2007). Only a few species of Megachile (Litomegachile) are known to occur in Neotropical areas (Michener 2007).

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

<p><em>Megachile texana </em>female face, photo: Jeni Sidwell</p>
Megachile texana female face, photo: Jeni Sidwell
<p><em>Megachile texana </em>female lateral habitus, photo: Jeni Sidwell</p>
Megachile texana female lateral habitus, photo: Jeni Sidwell
<p><em>Megachile lippiae </em>female abdomen, photo: Jeni Sidwell</p>
Megachile lippiae female abdomen, photo: Jeni Sidwell
<p><em>Megachile (Litomegachile)</em> sp. male face, photo: Jeni Sidwell</p>
Megachile (Litomegachile) sp. male face, photo: Jeni Sidwell
<p><em>Megachile (Litomegachile)</em> sp. male lateral habitus, photo: Jeni Sidwell</p>
Megachile (Litomegachile) sp. male lateral habitus, photo: Jeni Sidwell
<p><em>Megachile (Litomegachile)</em> sp. male abdomen, photo: Jeni Sidwell</p>
Megachile (Litomegachile) sp. male abdomen, photo: Jeni Sidwell
<p><em>Megachile mendica</em> male face, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile mendica male face, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile lippiae</em> male head, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile lippiae male head, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile coquilletti</em> female face, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile coquilletti female face, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Megachile lippiae</em> female mandibles, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile lippiae female mandibles, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Megachile lippiae</em> female abdomen, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile lippiae female abdomen, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Megachile brevis</em> female abdomen, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile brevis female abdomen, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Megachile onobrychidis</em> female abdomen, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile onobrychidis female abdomen, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Megachile onobrychidis</em> female S6, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile onobrychidis female S6, photo: Joshua Hengel