Megachile (Megella)


Family: Megachilidae
Subfamily: Megachilinae
Tribe: Megachilini
Genus: Megachile Latreille, 1802
Subgenus: Megella Pasteels, 1965
Common name: none


Megachile (Megella) are elongate bees that may have black, red, or brown hairs (Michener 2007, Gonzalez 2008). They range in body length from 15–22 mm (Michener 2007).

Diagnostic characteristics

(modified from Michener 2007; Gonzalez 2008)

  • Preoccipital carina present laterally.
  • Female mandible is broad apically and four-toothed with a complete cutting edge in the third interspace.
  • Female ocelloccipital distance is greater than the interocellar distance.
  • Female S6 with an apical fringe of plumose hairs.
  • Male front legs and coxa are unmodified.
  • Male mandible has 3–4 teeth and lacks an inferior projection.
  • Male T6 preapical carina is medially emarginate.
  • Male T6 apical margin with four teeth.

May be confused with

Megachile (Megella) may be confused with bees within the subgenera Megachile (Neocressoniella) due to both sharing the characteristics of a strong preoccipital carina behind the gena, an elongate body, and brown to black pubescence (Gonzalez 2008). Megachile (Megella) can be differentiated from Megachile (Neocressoniella) by the shape of the abdomen, which is twice as long as wide in Megachile (Megella) (Gonzalez 2008).

Host associations

Megachile (Megella) have been observed visiting flowers of plants in the family Lamiaceae (Kakutani et al. 1990).

Nesting behavior

Megachile (Megella) nest in preexisting cavities and have been observed nesting in wood (Katayama 2004). They have also been observed reusing cavities over several seasons and nesting in aggregations (Piel 1933; Katayama 2004). Megachile (Megella) use pieces of leaves to form brood cells (Gonzalez 2008).


Megachile (Megella) consists of five described species (Michener 2007; Gonzalez 2008; Gonzalez et al. 2019); none are known to occur in the U.S. or Canada.

Known invasives

There are no known invasives.


Megachile (Megella) are found in Africa and Southeast Asia (Michener 2007). In Africa, they range from Liberia to the Congo Basin. In Southeast Asia, they are known to occur in India and China (Cockerell and Caldwell 1927; Michener 2007).

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

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