Megachile (Paracella)

Taxonomy

Family: Megachilidae
Subfamily: Megachilinae
Tribe: Megachilini
Genus: Megachile Latreille, 1802
Subgenus: Paracella Tkalcu, 1993
Common name: none

Overview

Megachile (Paracella) are relatively small bees with black integument, apical bands of white hair on the terga, and white to white-yellow scopa (Michener 2007; Praz 2017). Their body length can vary from 9–13 mm (Michener 2007).

Diagnostic characteristics

(modified from Michener 2007)

  • Preoccipital carina present laterally.
  • Female mandible is four-toothed with the upper tooth either truncate or emarginate, sometimes giving the appearance of five teeth.
  • Female mandible second and third interspaces have cutting edges that can be complete or incomplete. Also, there is a tuft of orange hairs near the apex of the outer acetabular groove.
  • Female sterna with apical bands of hair beneath the scopa in most species, although this is sometimes absent.
  • Male front coxa has a short tooth or projection.
  • Male mandible is four-toothed and lacks an inferior projection.
  • Male front tarsus is not greatly expanded although it is often pale.
  • Male T6 apical margin can vary from having four teeth to none.

May be confused with

Megachile (Paracella) may be confused with bees within the subgenus Megachile (Eutricharaea) because females of both subgenera often have apical bands of hair beneath the scopa on the sterna, four-toothed mandibles with an orange tuft of hair near the first tooth, and males are similar color and size and have a short tooth or projection on the front coxa (Michener 2007). Female Megachile (Paracella) can be separated from Megachile (Eutricharaea) by the cutting edges in the second and third interspaces; males can be separated by their four-toothed mandibles and the lack of a basal projection on the lower margin of the mandible (Michener 2007).

Host associations

Megachile (Paracella) have been observed visiting Acanthaceae, Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Hydrangeaceae, Lamiaceae, Lythraceae, and Poaceae (Kakutani et al. 1990; Gikungu 2006; Stanley et al. 2016; Wong 2018).

Nesting behavior

Megachile (Paracella) construct nests in pre-existing cavities between rocks or in burrows in the soil. Nest cells are comprised of leaf fragments and layers of petals (Ferton 1920).

Diversity

Megachile (Paracella) consists of 45 described species (Ascher and Pickering 2020); none are known to occur in the U.S. or Canada.

Known invasives

There are no known invasives.

Distribution

Megachile (Paracella) are found primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, but some species can also be found in the Mediterranean and eastern Asia from India to Indonesia (Michener 2007).

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

<p><em>Megachile abongana </em>female face, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile abongana female face, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Megachile abongana </em>female lateral habitus, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile abongana female lateral habitus, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Megachile abongana </em>female dorsal habitus, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile abongana female dorsal habitus, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Megachile abongana </em>male face, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile abongana male face, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Megachile abongana </em>male lateral habitus, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile abongana male lateral habitus, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Megachile abongana </em>male dorsal habitus, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile abongana male dorsal habitus, photo: Joshua Hengel