Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
John S. Ascher, Contributing Editor
Full name:
John S. Ascher
City, state, country:

Since June 2013 I've been an assistant professor of biodiversity at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and a Research Associate of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and of the American Museum of Natural History. I received my Ph.D. in Entomology from Cornell University, 2004

In 2005 I initiated and subsequently managed the American Museum of Natural History Bee Database Project. Specimen records from this project are displayed on maps at together with bee records from other institutions including GBIF records. As of June 2013 full label data are available on maps for more than 238,000 of the ca. 500,000 AMNH bee specimens representing more than 5000 identified species. More than 100,000 literature records for world Apoidea also appear on these maps (as the AMNH_BEES [plural] database; specimen records are in the AMNH_BEE [singular] database).

Maps based on literature records and, for most well known species, georeferenced specimen data, are available for most of the world's ca. 20,000 valid and nominally valid bee species. These were reviewed as part of ITIS-led World Bee Checklist, now being updated. Names of these valid bee species are searchable in the "Discover Life Bee species guide and world checklist (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila)" by John S. Ascher and John Pickering:

Literature records for bees displaying on maps should include all published or otherwise accessible records at the state and provincial level for the USA, Mexico, and Canada (and elsewhere). Please let me know of any omissions and corrections. Maps can be generated by clicking "Global Mapper" to the right of the small world map icon in the Links section of each genus and species page. These can then be modified in various ways using the "Make Map" feature. By clicking on individual dots on the map you can view details for each record.

A taxonomic and distributional database for world bees and North American apoid wasps, including records from both published and unpublished sources, is the basis for the literature records displayed on the maps. State-level records for bees are also incorporated in the bee identification guides developed by Sam Droege and colleagues. Distributional data for North American bees were compiled in collaboration with many colleagues, especially Sam Droege (primarily eastern USA) and Terry Griswold (primarily western USA), who each generously shared hundreds of new state records for bee species.

Names of 1900+ North American apoid wasp species, including Caribbean and Central American species, are available in the Apoid wasp species guide here:

I have more than 30 years experience as a birder and enjoy applying techniques pioneered by field ornithologists to the identification of aculeate Hymenoptera.

My research interests include the taxonomy, biogeography, identification, and phylogeny of all Apoidea, including apoid (=sphecid) wasps in addition to bees.

Tips on using Discover Life maps:

1. Go to the Links section of a genus or species page and click "Global map", found to the right of the small rectangular world map icon, to generate a map.

2. Add an underscore after the generic name to generate a map with each species listed separately and mapped in a different color and/or symbol (unless the genus has too many species), e.g., for the squash bee genus Peponapis:

3. Map multiple genera of bees and/or plants by separating generic names with commas and no spaces, e.g., to map the squash bee genera Peponapis and Xenoglossa together with their squash hosts in genus Cucurbita:,Peponapis,Xenoglossa

Zoom into maps by clicking blank areas next to but not exactly on the dots.

When zooming in, note that more records are present than appear on the global map. Note also that points for the last taxon listed are superimposed upon those for earlier-listed taxa, e.g., on the following map Nomada (cleptoparasitic bee) points obscure the underlying Andrena (host bee) points:,Nomada

Please submit corrections through the feedback link.