Megachile (Melanosarus)

Taxonomy

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

Overview

Megachile (Melanosarus) are almost entirely black bees with black integument and all or largely black hairs (Michener 2007; Gonzalez 2008). They range in body length from 10–16 mm (Michener 2007).

Diagnostic characteristics

(modified from Mitchell 1937a; Michener 2007; Gonzalez 2008)

  • Scutum is less densely punctate than most Megachile subgenera; often punctures are separated by at least one puncture width.
  • Female hypostomal area has a depressed, smooth, shiny area that is enclosed by a short transverse carina.
  • Female mandible is five-toothed with a long cutting edge in the second interspace and no cutting edge in the third interspace.
  • Female S6 has a reduced scopa and is mostly bare on the apical half.
  • Male front tarsi are distinctly expanded and pale.
  • Male mid-tibial spurs are absent.

May be confused with

Male Megachile (Melanosarus) may be confused with bees within the subgenus Megachile (Pseudocentron) because females in both subgenera have reduced scopal hairs on S6 and males in both lack a mid-tibial spur. However, Megachile (Pseudocentron) males have an immovable prong or tooth on the mid-tibia that is absent in Megachile (Melanosarus) (Mitchell 1937a; Michener 2007). Female Megachile (Melanosarus) can be differentiated from Megachile (Pseudocentron) by their mandible, which is five-toothed and has a long cutting edge in the second interspace (Michener 2007).

Host associations

Megachile (Melanosarus) have been observed visiting flowers of plants in the families Anacardiaceae, Aquifoliaceae, Arecaceae, Asteraceae, Haemodoraceae, Onagraceae and Smilacaceae (Deyrup et al. 2002; Hall and Ascher 2010).

Nesting behavior

Megachile (Melanosarus) nests in pre-existing cavities, including in bamboo and cardboard trap nests (Eickwort et al. 1981; Marques and Gaglianone 2013). They have been observed constructing their nests from pieces of cut leaves (Marques and Gaglianone 2013).

Diversity

Megachile (Melanosarus) is a subgenus of eight species, two of which occur in the U.S. (Michener 2007).

Known invasives

There are no known invasives.

Distribution

Megachile (Melanosarus) are distributed across North and South America. They are found from the state of Maryland, U.S., to Argentina in South America (Michener 2007).

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

<p><em>Megachile sp. </em>female face, photo: Jeni Sidwell</p>
Megachile sp. female face, photo: Jeni Sidwell
<p><em>Megachile sp. </em>female lateral habitus, photo: Jeni Sidwell</p>
Megachile sp. female lateral habitus, photo: Jeni Sidwell
<p><em>Megachile sp. </em>female abdomen, photo: Jeni Sidwell</p>
Megachile sp. female abdomen, photo: Jeni Sidwell
<p><em>Megachile hypocrita </em>male face, photo: Jeni Sidwell</p>
Megachile hypocrita male face, photo: Jeni Sidwell
<p><em>Megachile hypocrita </em>male lateral habitus, photo: Jeni Sidwell</p>
Megachile hypocrita male lateral habitus, photo: Jeni Sidwell
<p><em>Megachile hypocrita </em>male abdomen, photo: Jeni Sidwell</p>
Megachile hypocrita male abdomen, photo: Jeni Sidwell
<p><em>Megachile ivonensis</em> female head, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile ivonensis female head, photo: Joshua Hengel