Megachile (Rhodomegachile)

Taxonomy

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

Overview

Megachile (Rhodomegachile) are bees with black integument on the head and thorax and have entirely red-orange, mostly hairless abdomens (Michener 2007; Houston 2018). They range in body length from 5–10 mm (Michener 2007).

Diagnostic characteristics

(modified from King and Exley 1985; Michener 2007)

  • Integument of abdomen is entirely red-orange.
  • Preoccipital carina present both dorsally and laterally.
  • Pronotal ridge carinate.
  • T2 with postgradular groove shallow and T3 without postgradular groove.
  • Male mandibles three-toothed.
  • Male S3 usually covering remaining sterna.
  • Male T6 lacks a preapical carina or, if present, it is as a short ridge.

May be confused with

Megachile (Rhodomegachile) may be confused with bees within the subgenera Hackeriapis due to the weak or nearly absent T6 carina, lack of deep postgradular grooves in T2T3, and broad glossa (Gonzalez 2008). Megachile (Rhodomegachile) can be differentiated from Hackeriapis by the red integument of their abdomen (Michener 2007; Gonzalez 2008).

Host associations

Megachile (Rhodomegachile) are known to visit flowers of several genera in the family Myrtaceae, including Eucalyptus, Callistemon, and Melaleuca (Michener 1965; King and Exley 1985).

Nesting behavior

Megachile (Rhodomegachile) have been observed building nests of resinous material in pre-existing cavities, including in man-made holes (Houston 2018). Female Megachile (Rhodomegachile) have been observed collecting cerumen, a combination of wax and resin, from the nests of stingless bees (Meliponinae) (Houston 2018).

Diversity

Megachile (Rhodomegachile) consists of three species (Michener 2007; Gonzalez 2008); none are known to occur in the U.S. or Canada.

Known invasives

There are no known invasives.

Distribution

Megachile (Rhodomegachile) ranges throughout northern Australia from Queensland to Western Australia and can be found as far south as New South Wales (Michener 2007; Houston 2018). They occur predominantly in southern Queensland (Michener 2007).

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

<p><em>Megachile aff deanii </em>female face, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile aff deanii female face, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile aff deanii </em>female lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile aff deanii female lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile aff deanii </em>female abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile aff deanii female abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile aff deanii </em>male face, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile aff deanii male face, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile aff deanii </em>male lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile aff deanii male lateral habitus, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile aff deanii </em>male abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile aff deanii male abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt
<p><em>Megachile deanii</em> female, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile deanii female, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Megachile </em>(<em>Rhodomegachile</em>) sp. female abdomen, photo: Joshua Hengel</p>
Megachile (Rhodomegachile) sp. female abdomen, photo: Joshua Hengel
<p><em>Megachile deanii</em> male abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt</p>
Megachile deanii male abdomen, photo: Colleen Meidt