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Species Epeolus lectoides - Sumac Cellophane-cuckoo

bee on Sumac flowers - Epeolus lectoides Another (?) bee or bee mimic - Epeolus lectoides Another (?) bee or bee mimic - Epeolus lectoides Wasp-like insect on Black-eyed Susan - Epeolus lectoides - female Epeolini on Asclepias tuberosa - Epeolus lectoides - female Epeolini on Asclepias tuberosa - Epeolus lectoides Epeolini on Asclepias tuberosa - Epeolus lectoides Bee - Epeolus lectoides
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 Apidae (Cuckoo, Carpenter, Digger, Bumble, and Honey Bees)
Subfamily Nomadinae (Cuckoo Bees)
Tribe Epeolini
Genus Epeolus (Cellophane-cuckoos)
Species lectoides (Sumac Cellophane-cuckoo)
Other Common Names
Eastern prized epeolus
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Epeolus semilectus
7 to 10 mm. long
Male and female similar.

Head: Black, covered with very short, silvery hair. Lower face (clypeus) dark and bare. Cheeks very narrow about 1/3 eye width. Mandibles red, base and tips black.
Antenna: Black. Underside of base (scape) and segments 1 to 2 have some yellowish-brown to reddish-brown.
Thorax: Black, smooth and shiny. Collar stripe whitish. Segment 1 (scutum) with two white longitudinal lines, one on each side of center; may be faint on male. Segment 2 (scutellum) black, lobed or indented at center on lower margin; points at each side (axillae) usually black, but can be slightly reddened on female sometimes. Thorax sides shiny, sparsely covered with silvery hairs. Tubercles partly reddish-brown, surrounded with white fringe. Underside of thorax covered with dense silvery hair.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) brownish-yellow on female, more reddish on male. Wings hyaline at base, gradually darkening to very dark wide band at tips. Veins brownish.
Legs: Brownish-yellow. Coxae black. Top of hind thigh (femur) somewhat dark. Hind shin darker in mid area. Mid and hind spurs dark.
Abdomen: Black and shiny. Lower edge of all segments have a light yellowish-hyaline rim. Very narrow white stripes slightly above lower margin are narrowly interrupted and pointed at center, on segments 1 to 4 (5 in male).
Segment 1 has 2 stripes.
Segment 2 has faint patch at side edges above stripe.
Segment 5 on female has wide grayish triangular patches on each side and a bright, silvery crescent at center on lower edge. Male segment 6 stripe entire.
Tip is twice as wide as long, squarish on female, round on male.
Underside of abdomen has dense, white, scaly hairs and stripes on 2 to 4.
Canada: Ontario. USA: Michigan, Illinois and Virginia.
Forest edges and meadows
July to September
Adults feed on nectar and pollen of a variety of flowers.
Life Cycle
The female finds Plasterer bee (Colletes) nests, enters and lays an egg in provisioned cells. When larva hatches, it kills the plasterer bee, and feeds on the stored pollen and nectar. The likely host is Colletes nudus.
Similar Species: Epeolus ilicis (not on BugGuide) has rough, dull thorax; segment 2 (scutellum) lower edge is straight across, not lobed like E. lectoides. In E. ilicis, abdominal stripes rest on lower margin of each segment and not all stripes are interrupted. E. ilicis is rare in Ontario with 3 reported: 1 from Cochrane north of Timmins (#25153 Discover Life no date), 1 from Bruce Peninsula in 1953 and 1 from Guelph in 1978.
Holotype female by Robertson, 1901 in Robertson Collection at Illinois Natural History Survey #44383. Locality: Illinois. No photos.
Holotype as Epeolus semilectus male #54852 and 534053 by Cockerell, 1907. Locality: Virginia, Church Falls – no date. In Smithsonian – National Museum of Natural History. Photos.
Internet References
Canadian Entomologist, 1901, Vol. 33, pg. 231 female by Robertson.
Canadian Entomologist, 1903, Vol. 35, pp. 287-88, Keys male and female by Robertson.
The Entomologist (British), 1907, Vol. 40, pg. 136 Epeolus semilectus male by Cockerell.
North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin, 1962 #152. Bees of the Eastern United States by Mitchell. Keys pp. 438 to 440; description pp. 451 to 452.
Journal Entomological Society Ontario, 2004, Vol. 135, pg. 88 Keys by Romankova
Parks Research Forum of Ontario, 2003, pg. 335.
Journal Entomological Society Ontario, 2004, Vol. 135, pg. 88 Keys by Romankova.
The Canadian Entomologist, 2006, Vol. 138: Changes in the bee fauna (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of an old field site in southern Ontario, revisited after 34 years; Table #1, pg. 156 by Grixti & Packer.