Pseudomegachile

Taxonomy

Family: Megachilidae
Subfamily: Megachilinae
Tribe: Megachilini
Genus: Pseudomegachile Friese, 1898
Common name: none

Overview

Pseudomegachile are a morphologically diverse and variable subgenus with white, grey, yellow, red, or black hair throughout their bodies (Michener 2007). They range in body length from 10–22 mm (Michener 2007). Pseudomegachile were previously recognized as a subgenus of Megachile but were raised to genus level by Gonzalez et al. 2019.

Diagnostic characteristics

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

May be confused with

Pseudomegachile has many species that are similar in size and coloration to Callomegachile. Female Pseudomegachile can be differentiated from Callomegachile by their shorter mandibles with smooth, shiny ridges of their mandibules. Male Pseudomegachile can be differentiated by the denticulate preapical carina on T6, which sometimes has a median emargination (Michener 2007).

Host associations

Pseudomegachile are generalists which have been observed visiting species within Asteraceae, Acanthaceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae, Papilionaceae, Pedaliaceae, and Plantaginaceae (Banaszak 1976; Gogala 1991; Özbek and Zanden 1994, Karunaratne et al. 2005; Gikungu 2006).

Nesting behavior

Pseudomegachile have been observed nesting in pre-existing cavities in wood, cane, reeds, and soil, as well as in cracks in buildings and in abandoned thread-waisted wasp (Sphecidae) nests (Gupta et al. 2003; Raw 2007; Gonzalez et al. 2019). Although they are solitary bees, at least one species (Pseudomegachile flavipes) has been reported nesting in aggregations of 200 nests in Egypt (Gupta et al. 2003). These bees build their nests using resins and mud mixed with oral secretions (Gupta et al. 2003; Raw 2007).

Diversity

Pseudomegachile consists of approximately 80 species (Raw 2007). These bees are not native to the U.S., but one species, Pseudomegachile lanata, has been introduced in Florida (Genaro 2008; Gonzalez et al. 2019).

Known invasives

In the U.S., Pseudomegachile lanata is invasive in the state of Florida and the territory of Puerto Rico (Michener 2007; Genaro 2008). Outside of the U.S., it is known to be invasive on many of the Caribbean Islands and in several countries in South America, including Colombia, Bolivia, Guyana, and French Guiana (Michener 2007; Gonzalez et al. 2019).

Distribution

Pseudomegachile are native to Europe, Africa, and Asia, although they have been introduced in the Western Hemisphere (Michener 2007; Genaro 2008; Gonzalez et al. 2019). In Europe, they are most abundant in the Mediterranean region, but can be found as far north as Finland (Michener 2007). In Africa, they are widespread and can be found from the Mediterranean to South Africa, as well as on Madagascar and Réunion islands off the eastern coast. In Asia, they are found from the Mediterranean coast of Southwest Asia to Indonesia and the eastern coast of China (Michener 2007).

Pseudomegachile lanata, a species that is native to India and has spread to Africa, was introduced to the Caribbean Islands during the slave trade (Genaro 2008). They have since spread to the U.S. (Florida) and South America (Gonzalez et al. 2019).

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

<p><em>Pseudomegachile ericetorum </em>female face, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Pseudomegachile ericetorum female face, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Pseudomegachile ericetorum </em>female lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Pseudomegachile ericetorum female lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Pseudomegachile ericetorum </em>female abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Pseudomegachile ericetorum female abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Pseudomegachile ericetorum </em>male face, photo: Shaun Heller</p>
Pseudomegachile ericetorum male face, photo: Shaun Heller
<p><em>Pseudomegachile ericetorum </em>male lateral habitus, photo: Shaun Heller</p>
Pseudomegachile ericetorum male lateral habitus, photo: Shaun Heller
<p><em>Pseudomegachile ericetorum </em>male abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Pseudomegachile ericetorum male abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Pseudomegachile lanata </em>female face, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Pseudomegachile lanata female face, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Pseudomegachile lanata </em>female lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Pseudomegachile lanata female lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Pseudomegachile lanata </em>female abdomen, photo: Shaun Heller</p>
Pseudomegachile lanata female abdomen, photo: Shaun Heller
<p><em>Pseudomegachile lanata </em>male face, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Pseudomegachile lanata male face, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Pseudomegachile lanata </em>male lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Pseudomegachile lanata male lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Pseudomegachile lanata </em>male abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Pseudomegachile lanata male abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Pseudomegachile ericetorum</em> male apical terga, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Pseudomegachile ericetorum male apical terga, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Pseudomegachile</em><em> fulva</em> female tarsal claw, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Pseudomegachile fulva female tarsal claw, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Pseudomegachile imitata</em> abdomen, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Pseudomegachile imitata abdomen, photo: Joshua Hengel