Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Genus Megachile - Leaf-cutter and Resin Bees

Little bee - Megachile petulans - female Bee - Megachile - male Leaf-cutting Bee - Megachile centuncularis? - Megachile centuncularis - female Megachilidae - Megachile Bee on Dwarf Sunflower - Megachile Leaf-cutting bee - Xanthosarus?? - Megachile latimanus - female Bee - Megachile brevis - female Pollinator 3 - Megachile
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
No Taxon (Anthophila (Apoidea) - Bees)
Family Megachilidae (Leaf-cutter Bees, Mason Bees, and allies)
Subfamily Megachilinae
Tribe Megachilini
Genus Megachile (Leaf-cutter and Resin Bees)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Megachile Latreille 1802
Explanation of Names
Greek mega (μεγας) 'large' + cheil- (χειλ) 'lip'(1)(2) (refers to the mouthparts)
Numbers
~130 spp. in 16 subgenera in our area, 1520 spp. in 56 subgenera worldwide(3)
Size
Typically 7-9 mm, a few to 12 mm or larger(4)
Identification
Male rear ends
turn down quickly and end abruptly

T1 segments have 2 “sides”, one that faces forward or faces the thorax and one that faces the top.

In Megachile, the “corner” where the forward side and the top side meet is severe. It creates a flat or concave appearance like a circular shelf.


Contract this with Lithurgopsis

which has a more gradual transition to the "sides" of T1.
(5)

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OVERVIEW OF SPECIES OF Megachile

           

     

Species sculpturalis - Giant Resin Bee
     

     
     


     
Species rotundata -Alfalfa leafcutter bee




     

     
Images needed

     
     
     
     

     


Species xylocopoides - Carpenter-mimic Leafcutter
     





     
     
     
     
     

     

     
     
     
Range
Cosmopolitan [map(3)]
Season
In ne. US most fly May-Oct, but many fly much earlier in warm areas (FL, so. CA)
Food
Polylectic, that is larvae feed on wide variety of pollens.
Life Cycle
Most nest in pre-existent holes in wood. Female typically cuts neat, more-or-less round pieces out of leaves to serve as separators between cells of nest:
Remarks
The males of most species have enlarged light-colored front legs with a fringe of hairs and with odor glands. They use these features during mating. They partially cover the female's eyes with the hairy legs and the odor glands are placed close to the female's antennae. These adaptations resemble those of some carpenter bees and sphecid wasps. (Apidologie. 1995 Modified Legs of Male Leafcutter Bees)
See Also
Coelioxys--tapered abdomen, lacks pollen basket underneath
Internet References
Fact sheets: U. of Fla., U. of Alberta
Apidologie. 1995 Modified Legs of Male Leafcutter Bees