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

Genus Epeolus - Cellophane-cuckoos

Cuckoo bee - Epeolus bifasciatus - female Epeolus? - Epeolus compactus Epeolus scutellaris? - Epeolus scutellaris - female bee? species or genus? - Epeolus autumnalis Bee on Copper Mallow - Epeolus americanus Bee - Epeolus Epeolus glabratus Epeolus cuckoo bee - Epeolus pusillus - female
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 Apidae (Cuckoo, Carpenter, Digger, Bumble, and Honey Bees)
Subfamily Nomadinae (Cuckoo Bees)
Tribe Epeolini
Genus Epeolus (Cellophane-cuckoos)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Trophocleptria, which includes the Nearctic Epeolus bifasciatus, was formerly treated as a separate genus (or subgenus)
Numbers
32 valid spp. in our area, >100 spp. worldwide/total(1)
Range
worldwide (map)(1)
Absent from Antarctica and Australia, also Madagascar, Oceania, and parts of Southeast Asia, where its hosts (Colletes) are not present.
Most diverse in North America, with 32 spp.
Food
cleptoparasites of Colletes
Remarks
Differences in the shape of the pygidial plate are used for generic ID of males (shorter and broadly rounded in Epeolus; narrower and with sinuate margins in Triepeolus). This can be difficult to see even in pinned specimens so many males were described in the wrong genus, even by Cockerell and Mitchell! In females the obvious difference is the extent and configuration of a hair patch called the pseudopygidial area (shorter and more transverse in Epeolus). These hairs are often silvery. (J.S. Ascher's comment)
Internet References
Zookeys. Onuferko. T. 2018. A revision of the cleptoparasitic bee genus Epeolus Latreille for Nearctic species, north of Mexico (Hymenoptera, Apidae)