Family: Megachilidae
Subfamily: Megachilinae
Tribe: Megachilini
Genus: Maximegachile Guiglia and Pasteels, 1961
Common name: none


Maximegachile are large, robust bees with black and white hairs (Michener 2007). They range in body length from 14–25 mm (Michener 2007). Maximegachile had previously been considered a subgenus of Megachile, but was elevated to genus status by Gonzalez et al. (2019).

Diagnostic characteristics

(modified from Michener 2007; Gonzalez 2008; Praz 2017)

  • Preoccipital carina present laterally.
  • Female clypeus is short, truncate, and shiny.
  • Female hypostomal area with a large, transverse, truncate tooth posteriorly.
  • Female labrum tapers to an apex that is one-third as wide as the base.
  • Female mandible is three-toothed, elongate, and parallel-sided.
  • Female mandibular ridges are shiny and smooth.
  • Female ocelloccipital distance is twice as long as the interocellar distance.
  • Male clypeus with small median apical point or tubercle which is often covered by dense hair.
  • Male F1 with maximum length longer than the maximum length of pedicel.
  • Male front coxa without spine.
  • Male mandible is four-toothed and lacks an interior projection.
  • Male T6 posterior margin with lateral teeth.
  • Male T6 preapical carina is bilobed.

May be confused with

Maximegachile share a number of features with Stenomegachile. Females of both genera have long, shiny mandibles and a posterior tooth in the hypostomal area. Males of both genera have a bilobed carina and lateral teeth on T6 (Michener 2007). Unlike Stenomegachile, female Maximegachile have a three-toothed mandible (Michener 2007). Male Maximegachile can be differentiated from Stenomegachile by their four-toothed mandible and the long, dense hair above the bilobed pre-apical carina of T6 (Michener 2007).

Host associations

Maximegachile has been observed visiting Asteraceae, Amaranthaceae, and Fabaceae (Gess and Gess 2003; Gous 2017).

Nesting behavior

Maximegachile nest in pre-existing cavities and have been found in trap nests. They use sand and resin to construct their nests (Gess and Roosenschoon 2017).


Maximegachile consists of two species: M. maxillosa and M. galactogagates (Penati and Mariotti 2015; Praz 2017). Neither species are known to occur in the U.S. or Canada (Michener 2007).

Known invasives

There are no known invasives.


Maximegachile are found in western Asia and Africa. They have been recorded in Israel and the United Arab Emirates in western Asia (Michener 2007; Gess and Gess 2003). In Africa, they are found from Senegal to South Africa and along the northeastern coast in Eritrea, Sudan, and Egypt (Michener 2007; Gous 2017).

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

<p><em>Maximegachile</em> <em>maxillosa </em>female face, photo: Chelsey Ritner</p>
Maximegachile maxillosa female face, photo: Chelsey Ritner
<p><em>Maximegachile</em><em> maxillosa </em>female lateral habitus, photo: Chelsey Ritner</p>
Maximegachile maxillosa female lateral habitus, photo: Chelsey Ritner
<p><em>Maximegachile</em> <em>maxillosa </em>female abdomen, photo: Chelsey Ritner</p>
Maximegachile maxillosa female abdomen, photo: Chelsey Ritner
<p><em>Maximegachile</em> <em>maxillosa </em>male face, photo: Chelsey Ritner</p>
Maximegachile maxillosa male face, photo: Chelsey Ritner
<p><em>Maximegachile</em> <em>maxillosa </em>male lateral habitus, photo: Chelsey Ritner</p>
Maximegachile maxillosa male lateral habitus, photo: Chelsey Ritner
<p><em>Maximegachile</em> <em>maxillosa </em>male abdomen, photo: Chelsey Ritner</p>
Maximegachile maxillosa male abdomen, photo: Chelsey Ritner
<p><em>Maximegachile maxilossa</em> male face, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Maximegachile maxilossa male face, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Maximegachile maxilossa</em> female face, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Maximegachile maxilossa female face, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Maximegachile maxilossa</em> female mandible, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Maximegachile maxilossa female mandible, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Maximegachile maxilossa</em> female head hypostomal area, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Maximegachile maxilossa female head hypostomal area, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Maximegachile maxilossa</em> female abdomen T6, photo: Brooke Bagot</p>
Maximegachile maxilossa female abdomen T6, photo: Brooke Bagot